Slain mother of two remembered as a loving person who helped others

October 04, 1994|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,Sun Staff Writer

An aunt described 23-year-old Raycol Lavette Harris yesterday as a "loving mother" who was a "full of life and full of plans to open her own beauty shop."

The hairdresser, who was the mother of two small children, was found mortally wounded in her Woodlawn home Saturday night shortly after she had called 911 and told a police dispatcher that an intruder was breaking in.

"She did not deserve to die like that," said Linda Ray of Baltimore, her aunt.

"All she believed in was love and helping people. She was a beautiful person. I just think it's a shame and a disgrace that anyone would be so cruel."

"Police are still investigating," said Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a Baltimore County police spokesman. "Witnesses reported seeing as many as three people running from the scene that night."

Sergeant Doarnberger said police believe the burglary was not random, that the killers broke into the house knowing that Ms. Harris was there.

Ms. Harris placed her 911 call about 11 p.m. and then hung up. A subsequent call placed to the Heatherton Court townhouse by the 911 dispatcher resulted in a hang-up, Sergeant Doarnberger said, and someone picked up the receiver after another call but did not speak.

County police officers arrived at the residence a short time later to find Ms. Harris with multiple gunshot wounds. She died at Northwest Hospital Center.

Her 2-year-old daughter, Reigan Downer, was at home at the time of the attack but was not injured. Ms. Ray said the child was staying with relatives. Ms. Harris' 7-month-old son, Raimon Downer, is in the hospital awaiting heart surgery, the aunt said.

Police said nothing apparently was stolen from the home. The incident was the second violent event there.

On June 4, four men broke into the house, pulled Ms. Harris out of bed, tied her up and stole jewelry and several hundred dollars. She wasn't injured then. No arrests have been made in that case, police said.

Sergeant Doarnberger said investigators are unsure if there was a connection between the two attacks.

Many neighbors weren't aware yesterday of Saturday's shooting, but at least one remembered hearing what sounded like gunshots that night. Most said they did not know Ms. Harris well, that she mostly kept to herself.

Bernie Lawrence, a two-year resident of Heatherton Court, described the neighborhood as "relatively quiet and safe. . . . I was quite shocked to find out about what happened."

A Baltimore native, Ms. Harris graduated from Woodlawn High School in 1989 and became a beautician after graduating from a local beauty school.

Family members said she had enjoyed modeling clothes when she was younger and later enjoyed modeling hairstyles. She worked for some shops but recently had worked out of her home.

Ms. Ray said other survivors include Ms. Harris' parents, Roosevelt Harris Jr. and Maude E. Harris; and a brother, Derrick L. Harris. All are of Baltimore.

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