Woman who was driving car in which 7-year-old girl was shot is ordered held without bail

A woman who was driving the car in which a 7-year-old girl was shot was ordered held without bail Monday.

Darnell Holmes, 33, was driving in Southwest Baltimore last Thursday when Taylor Hayes, who was riding in the back seat, was shot in the back by an unknown gunman. Holmes was charged with six gun- and drug-related counts after police said they recovered a loaded gun, a digital scale and heroin in the glove box of her Honda Accord.

Holmes appeared at her bail review Monday via a video link and did not make any statements.

Holmes, who works as an aide for Baltimore City Schools and volunteers with the Aberdeen Fire Station, will be held at Central Booking until her preliminary hearing on Aug. 2.

Taylor is the daughter of Holmes’ cousin, Holmes’ attorney, Staci Pipkin, said. Holmes’ daughter also was riding in the back seat of the car at the time of the shooting, but was not injured. The bullet that struck Taylor entered the car through the trunk, police said.

On Monday, police said Taylor remains in critical condition at the University of Maryland Medical Center but is showing signs of slight improvement.

“She’s not by any means out of the woods or about to walk out of the hospital,” said police spokesman T.J. Smith.

“She’s not talking, she’s still intubated,” Baltimore’s interim police commissioner, Gary Tuggle, added.

Pipkin said Holmes does not know who shot at her car, which is registered in her name.

“They’re trying to press her to say something she doesn’t know,” Pipkin said. “She doesn’t know because she was driving.”

Police said investigators are looking for Holmes’ boyfriend, who is not currently a suspect. Police declined to release his name.

“We don’t know for sure if there was a fourth person in the car,” Tuggle said. “There could have been, quite possibly, so until we can make that determination we’re not going to release that name.”

An official from the state’s attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

A cash reward of up to $4,000 is being offered if a hotline tip leads to an arrest or charges filed in the case.

Baltimore police also have asked for the public’s help in identifying the driver of a white four-door Mercedes-Benz that was seen in the area of the shooting. Police released a video of the vehicle over the weekend.

Tuggle also urged the driver of the Mercedes to turn himself in.

“We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to be dogmatic in our approach to this investigation,” Tuggle said. “At the end of the day, you have a 7-year-old child, by no choice of her own, laying in the hospital, clinging to life. If this individual who is responsible has any compassion at all, he would turn himself in.”

Police have said that they recovered shell casings from at least two guns at the scene, and that some of the casings matched the gun they found in Holmes’ glove box.

Pipkin said her client isn’t responsible.

“There is zero evidence she touched the gun,” Pipkin said.

Baltimore District Judge Flynn M. Owens ordered Holmes held without bail.

“That is the quintessential definition of someone who poses a threat to the community,” Owens said at the hearing.

llumpkin@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lauren_lumps

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