Kelsey Washington, 13, was helping raise money for her dance team the evening of Nov. 7 when she was caught in a volley of gunfire outside a liquor store on East Fayette Street.
She was pronounced dead Monday in the hospital, two days after being declared brain-dead, according to Baltimore Police.
On Tuesday, a man was arrested and accused of firing the deadly shots. Washington was not his intended target, according to police reports.
Tavon Battle, 35, is accused of shooting at another man, who was injured but survived. Battle was arrested in Harford County. He faces first- and second-degree murder charges.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said last week that Washington was struck once in the head after a shooter opened fire into a large crowd of people outside Fayette Liquor Plus at the corner of East Fayette and North Caroline streets.
The shooting unfolded around 5:20 p.m. in the 1400 block of East Fayette Street. Medics transported Washington to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in grave condition.
Harrison said the shooter fired into a car, which left the scene of the shooting.
“This perpetrator fired into this vehicle, probably intending to shoot who was in the vehicle, but shot a young person who was standing outside minding her own business,” Harrison said.
Detectives later reviewed video footage of the shooting and identified the vehicle as an Acura sedan, which was parked outside the liquor store next to a dumpster, according to charging documents. A female driver exited the car and walked east toward the Douglass Homes housing development, according to police.
A male suspect on a mountain bike — later identified as Battle — then approached the passenger side of the car, drew a handgun and started firing into the vehicle, the documents say.
The passenger door was flung open, and police said the front-seat passenger appeared to fire back at the gunman.
Meanwhile, Washington was standing in the parking lot just east of the car. She immediately dropped to the ground after the initial exchange of gunfire and remained motionless, police said.
A back-seat passenger in the car then fled the scene, running north on Caroline Street. Moments later, the front passenger slid over into the driver’s seat and peeled out of the parking lot, while Battle biked west on Fayette Street, according to police.
The charging documents do not include information about a possible motive.
Investigators recovered 10 shell casings from a 9 mm handgun, according to the records.
The front-seat passenger walked into the nearby Johns Hopkins Hospital shortly after the shooting. He was treated for his injuries, police said.
At the shooting scene Wednesday afternoon, a large memorial display filled the corner of the parking lot where Washington was shot. A mass of pink and purple balloons engulfed a lamppost, along with candles, flowers and stuffed animals.
Someone had left a carefully written message in sidewalk chalk: “The sunshine in your heart that God know your name.”
Other messages including “Long live Kelsey” and “Kelsey world” were scrawled on the glass walls of a nearby bus shelter.
“Kelsey didn’t deserve this at all,” her mom wrote on a GoFundMe page. “Kelsey was beautiful, respectful, humble, outgoing, loving, caring, and a leader. Kelsey always danced to the beat of her own drum.”
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Attempts to reach her family Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Battle, the suspected gunman, was released from federal custody Oct. 29, less than two weeks before the shooting, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
In 2014, he was sentenced to 20 years in state prison in a 2013 armed robbery case, with more than half of the sentence suspended, officials said. The sentence was then modified in July 2021, resulting in a September 2022 release date on the state charges. That sent him to federal custody until late October, when he was released on probation.
State corrections spokesman Mark Vernarelli said Battle was living in Edgewood after his release and had contact with his probation agent Nov. 1. Once he was identified as a suspect in the Nov. 7 shooting, Vernarelli said, various law enforcement partners worked to effect Battle’s latest arrest.
In a statement issued the night of Nov. 7, Mayor Brandon Scott called the shooting “senseless and tragic.” He asked witnesses to come forward with information.
“A child was caught in the crossfire of reckless activity fueled by petty conflict involving individuals who can’t properly resolve issues and individuals who have access to illegal guns,” Scott said. “We must continue to remove illegal guns and those using them from our streets while simultaneously investing in our communities.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Ngan Ho contributed to this article.