A guardian Angel

April 25, 2007

The portrayal of Baltimore in the media too often focuses on the violence bloodying its streets, and the impression left is often of a ruthless city bereft of compassion and courage. But then along comes Angel Burrell, who with one gesture shatters that misperception and restores a sense of the city's pride.

Angel, who is just 16, told The Sun's Gus G. Sentementes that she had never seen anyone shot before. But as she got off the bus from school last Friday and was walking home, Angel saw a girl running toward her and there was blood on the girl's shirt. The girl, Keonya Christian-Cannon, had been hit in the stomach by a stray bullet, police say, as she walked past a West Baltimore park where a fight had broken out.

Without a moment's hesitation, Angel reached out to help the wounded 13-year-old. She put the girl's arm around her shoulder and helped walk her home, which was around the corner. Angel also used her blue jacket to try to stop the bleeding as she was taught in a first-aid class. Paramedics arrived, and Keonya was rushed to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was in critical but stable condition yesterday.

It was a chance encounter between two strangers, but it reminds us all that Good Samaritans do exist in this harbor town and that a city's image can take a shine from the goodness of a girl named Angel.

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