Mourners remember 19-year-old bystander killed in shooting

More than 100 gather in Tanise Ervin's memory as police vow to find killer

March 15, 2011|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

She was "sassy and funky," a 19-year-old with a high school diploma in hand and a nursing degree in her sights. But in a moment, Tanise Ervin's dreams were cut short Saturday when a gunman opened fire in her North Baltimore block.

More than 100 mourners gathered on the steps of a Better Waverly church Tuesday night to remember Ervin and plead with the community to help police find her killer.

Among those in attendance were the commanders of the Northern police district and the lead homicide detective on the case. Maj. Ross Buzzuro, flanked by homicide detective Arthur Brummer, said police had failed Ervin.

"But I can assure you, we will tirelessly and relentlessly pursue the coward who did this act — I pledge that to all of you," Buzzuro said.

Ervin's father implored anyone in the crowd with information to come forward. "This was a senseless crime, one that shouldn't have happened," he said, his voice rising. "This must be resolved. We know what's got to be done. Let's do it."

Ervin, who had graduated from W.E.B. DuBois High School and was working at a McDonald's with an eye toward studying nursing at a local college, was fatally shot at about 6 p.m. Saturday outside a corner carryout store in the 900 block of Gorsuch Ave. It was steps away from Serenity House, the apartment complex where Ervin lived with her mother and which is part of Marian House, a women's shelter run by the Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of Notre Dame.

Two men — who Ervin knew and who police say were the intended victims — survived the shooting. Police said Monday they had been "less than cooperative."

On Tuesday, members of the Marian House community and other friends and family met at the steps of the United Church of Jesus Christ and held candles.

Audrey James, the house manager of Serenity Place, said Ervin was delighted to be making her own money at the fast-food job. For a moment, James lightened the mood and drew chuckles from the crowd as she recalled Ervin as "fashionable, savvy, funky, moody and sassy," and recalled her signature walk.

Her principal at W.E.B. DuBois, Delores Berry, said Ervin was determined to get an education. "We thank God for the opportunity of knowing Tanise Ervin," Berry said.

City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said she hoped the tragedy would pull the tight-knit community even closer, and a community walk is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Gorsuch Avenue and Independence Street.

Anyone with information about the slaying is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

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