Baltimore Sun

Baltimore elementary mourns shooting death of student

- By Darcy Costello

The 8-year-old girl whose Wednesday evening shooting death is under investigat­ion by Baltimore County Police attended Woodhome Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City, according to a letter sent Friday to parents.

Woodhome Principal Shontel Douglas wrote in the note that the school was “saddened to learn of the tragic passing ” of a “3rd grade student that was a part of the Woodhome family this past [school year].”

“Our thoughts are with [her] family and friends during this painful time,” Douglas said.

Douglas said the school system would assign counselors and social workers to the school in the upcoming week, saying administra­tors were “committed to providing the care the school community needs.”

The principal’s letter was shared with The Baltimore Sun by a city schools spokespers­on. It wasn’t clear whether the girl had just completed third grade or planned to enter third grade in the upcoming school year.

The Sun is not naming her for privacy reasons. Baltimore County Police have said they are not releasing the child’s name.

Few details have been made public about the circumstan­ces of her death, though Baltimore County Police said Thursday a child had been criminally charged in the shooting.

The police have not specified that individual’s age, gender or relationsh­ip to the shooting victim. They also have not specified what charge or charges the suspect faces.

Officers who responded to the scene of the shooting just before 9:30 p.m. Wednesday found an 8-year-old girl who’d been shot, police previously said.

The girl was found in the basement of a home in the 6300 block of Sherwood Road in the Idlewylde neighborho­od of Towson. She was taken to the hospital but did not survive her injuries.

In response to questions sent by email Friday, the Baltimore County Police Department said it was prohibited by law from releasing additional informatio­n about the victim or suspect because they are both under age 18.

The agency pointed to a law on courts and judicial proceeding­s that says a police record “concerning a child” is confidenti­al and its “contents may not be divulged, by subpoena or otherwise, except by order of the court upon good cause shown.”

County police emphasized Friday there is an ongoing criminal investigat­ion, and declined to say whether they expect to charge anyone else or whether police believe the shooting was accidental. Police also declined to say whether they had recovered the weapon used in the shooting.

The agency has said they believe this was an “isolated incident.”

Douglas’ letter to Woodhome parents urged them to speak with their children to “assess their wellbeing.”

As they process the event, “they may have questions or need to talk,” Douglas wrote. “Our support staff is ready to provide guidance; please do not hesitate to ask for any assistance.”

“Please keep the family of the students in your thoughts and prayer,” she added.

The strip of rowhouses where the shooting occurred along Sherwood Road is at the city-county border, but a Baltimore Police spokesman said it was in the county police’s jurisdicti­on.

He said Friday that Baltimore Police are not involved in the investigat­ion.

Baltimore County Police said Thursday the case was “now with” the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. Both agencies declined this week to provide additional informatio­n, pointing to confidenti­ality laws around cases involving juveniles.

Johnny Olszewski Jr., the county executive, said Thursday, “All of Baltimore County grieves with the family who lost a child last night.”

All gun violence is tragic, he added, but “even more so” when a child is killed.

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