A sad picture, a sad statistic


October 21, 2007|By Christopher T. Assaf | Christopher T. Assaf,Sun Photographer

The 2500 block of Garrett Ave. is a mix of ramshackle rowhomes, some boarded or for sale, a few better tended. Cars, both beaters and luxury, lined the weary street. Halfway on the block, reporter Julie Bykowicz and I came upon a small memorial for 17-year-old Davon Qualls, the subject of our story.

Qualls was arrested twice this spring on drug Charges, and his great-aunt, Eliza Jennings, had pleaded with juvenile court officials and state juvenile services caseworkers to place him in a locked drug treatment facility rather than returning him to uncertain oversight and city streets.

Her efforts failed and the troubled youth became another number in both the bureaucracy and red tape of the juvenile system and Baltimore's murder statistics Sept. 4, when he was found shot to death: the city's 211th murder of the year - one of 20 city youths under 17 to be killed so far this year.

A circle of candles surrounded one tree, ringed by wet and matted stuffed animals at waist height. The tree next it had two smaller animals attached, one a teddy bear with wilted flowers for a crown. A fastened plastic-covered note said "R.I.P. Day" in black marker: another sad message to mark another sad statistic.


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