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Daughter charged with murder in the death of her mother in Baltimore, police say

Sherry Birmingham, 48, was fatally shot in August in the Morrell Park neighborhood.
Sherry Birmingham, 48, was fatally shot in August in the Morrell Park neighborhood. (family photo)

The last words Sheila Baker heard from her sister was “Tell Sheila I love her.”

Sherry Birmingham, 48, shouted to her sister in the background of a phone call between Baker and their mother on Aug. 16. Later that night, police said, Birmingham was shot and killed.

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Baltimore Police arrested Birmingham’s 31-year-old daughter, Toni Arnold, this week in her death. Arnold is charged with first-degree murder and is being held at Central Booking. No lawyer was listed for Arnold in court records.

Birmingham and Arnold had differences for years, Baker said. But Birmingham had just turned her life around after battling years of drug addiction and the two began building back their relationship over again.

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“They became close after that. But in recent months, they were bickering over stupid stuff,” Baker told The Baltimore Sun.

“It was just a shock for us.”

Police said Arnold and a man identified in charging documents as her boyfriend were trying to break into the home where Birmingham was staying. Arnold had been yelling and kicking to get inside the home, then multiple gunshots were fired, the documents said.

Further investigation found that there was an “ongoing dispute” between Birmingham and Arnold, who was staying inside the home with her mother at the time, according to the documents.

At the time of the incident, Baltimore police responded to the 2400 block of Washington Blvd. in the Morrell Park neighborhood for a report of gunfire. When officers arrived, they found Birmingham suffering from a gunshot wound lying on the concrete patio, according to the documents.

After she was taken to Shock Trauma, she was pronounced dead.

Baker, 50, rushed to the hospital the night of the shooting to see her sister. She was met by workers at the hospital, who opened up a body bag and asked her to identify Birmingham.

She immediately recognized her, but her “face was a mess,” Baker said.

Birmingham was born and raised in Pigtown and attended Diggs Johnson Middle/High School and Francis Scott Key Middle School, Baker said. The sisters argued like typical siblings, but they had a love for each other that ran deeply, Baker said.

“I just remember being able to hang out with her and play with her. We would even go shopping together.”

Baker had not seen Birmingham for about two weeks before her killing, but the two talked on the phone almost every day, she said.

“As being sisters, you know, we fought a lot, but that is just normal sister-sister,” Baker said.

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