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Readers Respond

Teen charged in squeegee killing should be tried as a juvenile | READER COMMENTARY

Shannon Reynolds, widow of Timothy Reynolds, the man shot and killed by a squeegee worker last July, speaks at a press conference opposing an alleged plea deal offered to the 15-year-old accused of the shooting as sister-in-law Becky Reynolds and consulting attorney Thiru Vignarajah look on. Nov. 14, 2022. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun).

The encounter between Timothy Reynolds and the squeegee boys at Conway and Light streets was tragic for all concerned. A 48-year-old man has lost his life, and a 15-year-old boy is now potentially facing life in prison. The family of the victim is contesting the potential plea bargain that would allow the teen to be remanded to the custody of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. They also object to having his charges reduced to manslaughter so he can be transferred to juvenile court. The family wants justice (”Baltimore prosecutors say teen charged in fatal Inner Harbor squeegee shooting should go to juvenile court, agree to manslaughter plea,” Nov. 14).

What is justice in this case?

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The accused was 14 when he shot Timothy Reynolds. He was barely in his teens. He was responding to a threat from an adult man who initially came at him with a metal bat. I have been a social worker and psychotherapist for over 40 years. Perhaps the Reynolds family and their attorney are not aware that many of the young men who stand on the corners trying to wash our windshields have been traumatized since very early childhood — victims themselves of poverty, brutality and discrimination. They are easily triggered by threats of force used against them. Most of them are adolescents, and their brains have not fully matured. Impulse control is still developing. They don’t think about consequences in the moment, they just act. They protect themselves: their bodies, their property, their honor.

In the United States, guns are everywhere. They are easily obtainable and used constantly. There seems to be little political appetite to regulate their sales or get them off the streets. Even in Maryland with our gun control, we can’t prevent access to them.

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So, I ask again, who are the victims, and where is the justice for a child?

— Sally Neustadt, Baltimore

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