Outside the Madam D Beauty Bar in McElderry Park, Racquel Harrison stood with her granddaughter in her hands as she prepared to speak about her daughter, 21-year-old Destiny Harrison, who was fatally shot inside the salon on Dec. 21.
During a vigil Thursday outside the shop, Harrison spoke about the importance of teaching Destiny’s daughter, the 1-year-old Dream, about who her mother was: a driven, hard-working person who’d opened her own business.
But as her mother reflected on how Destiny was one of 339 people killed in Baltimore this year, she also called on those in attendance to push back against the culture of “no snitching” that can cause cases like her daughter’s to go unsolved.
“When it be y’all family ... y’all gonna want somebody to say something,” she said, adding that the city needs a culture to “hold people accountable for what other people are doing out here.”
It was a passionate plea during an emotional vigil that saw cousins, sisters and other family members speak describe Harrison as a loving sister lost to a historic rate of violence in Baltimore City.
She was shot inside the salon at 241 N. Milton Ave. last week, and police have offered few details of the investigation into her death. Police say other people were inside the salon when the shooting occurred, but have only said one or more suspects entered the store and shot Harrison.
Her death was part of a deadly weekend that saw two other people fatally shot in the city and several others injured during a shooting outside a hookah lounge in downtown Baltimore. It drew the attention of famed Baltimore boxer Gervonta Davis, who offered in a tweet to help pay for funeral costs.
As family members expressed their frustration that there has been no arrest in Harrison’s killing, they came together outside her business with pink balloons and words of support for one another.
With a "D" outlined in small candles adorning the steps to the business and decorative graffiti reading “No Shooting Zone” in honor of Destiny on the curb, Racquel Harrison said she remembered her daughter as someone who “had a drive that was unmatched.”
“She was a sweetheart, but she had her mother’s side too if you got on her bad side,” she said. “I never thought I couldn’t protect her from somebody hurting her."
Destiny’s cousin, Shelly Williams, 45, said Destiny got into hair styling at an early age with the encouragement from her mother.
She said growing up, Destiny had a “good heart” and was a regular at family reunions and get-togethers.
“We didn’t expect nothing like this to happen,” Williams said. “It’s nonsense. It needs to stop.”
Christian Harrison, Destiny’s little sister, said her sister taught her to be self-driven and to ignore those who would try to bring her down.
She said she still goes over the day in her head, questioning whether she could have been at the shop to try to help or what could’ve been done differently.
Struggling through tears, she said the 21-year-old’s lessons won’t be lost in her death.
“I’ve realized that everything we did was to make me stronger,” she said. “I got to be strong for everybody.”