A day after her 16-year-old son was slain in a robbery, Linda Harrington wondered why it had to happen, why a stranger would commit such a senseless and needless act.
"The guy was a total stranger," she said of the man who killed her son Thursday night. "He didn't even take anything."
She said her son, Donta, who she described as "a real nice, quiet boy," left their home in the 900 block of North Duncan Street just after 11 p.m. Thursday to buy a soda at a nearby grocery store.
"He told me: 'I'll be right back,' " Ms. Harrington said.
Moments later, she heard the crack of a gunshot, an all too familiar sound in her East Baltimore neighborhood.
Police said Donta was standing in the 900 block of North Collington Avenue, talking with a couple friends, when a man walked up to them and yelled: "Kick it out," slang for "empty your pockets."
The gunman, who witnesses said was about 20 years old, searched the victims but didn't find anything of value. Disgruntled, he pointed his gun at Donta, fired and fled in a brown car.
Donta was shot once in the chest and taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he died about three hours later. Ms. Harrington said her son, a 10th-grade student at Harford Institute, wanted to be a professional football player.
"He was real quiet and never got into trouble," she said. "He couldn't have had more than a couple of dollars on him."
Ms. Harrington said she now worries that her younger son and daughter may fall victim to the type of violence that took Donta.