Wake up call [Editorial]

The Aegis

What happened last Friday night in the parking lot at Edgewood High School is a crime sadly reminiscent of what this community experienced with frequency in the first half of the 2000s and sporadically since.

According to the Harford County’s Sheriff’s Office, a 19-year-old man was fatally shot during what investigators say was a robbery that allegedly occurred around a marijuana deal. The victim was the seller, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and was shot resisting a robbery attempt. Two boys, ages 15 and 16, have been charged as adults with first-degree murder and related offenses. Both are being held without bail pending a trial.

Since the defendants are presumed innocent until found otherwise and the account of the shooting has come from a single source, police investigators, what actually happened is a matter for the criminal justice system to sort out. What we can say, however, is this was clearly a fatal shooting that involved a relatively young victim. It occurred on the parking lot of a school. And it happened in Edgewood, a community which has, in our opinion, worked very hard to try to shed its image of a dangerous place that at one point was overrun with gangs and street crime, including the deadly variety, was rampant.

One incident such as last Friday’s is by no means an image maker or image breaker, but it is disturbing nonetheless. Our compliments to the Sheriff’s Office and its investigators for moving quickly and making arrests. There was a time not so long ago when such investigations were hampered by a lack of cooperation from the community. Maybe that’s changed, or let’s hope it has.

The fact that some type of drug transaction that led to a homicide may have been taking place on a school property is cause for major concern. The Willoughby Beach Road campus that is home to the high and middle schools and Deerfield Elementary is a community centerpiece that should be a safe zone at all times. Yes, thankfully school is not in session and no community activities were taking place, but this is not a place where gun-toting and wild West behavior can be tolerated at any time. If the campus can’t be crime free, what place can be in Edgewood?

Let this fatal shooting serve as a wake-up call to everyone in Edgewood that crime has no place in or around a school, a church, a business or a neighborhood. Don’t allow your community to slide back to the past.

avought@theaegis.com

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