A man has been convicted of killing a 13-year-old girl in the crossfire in Baltimore whom family members said was in the neighborhood to raise money for her school and her dance team.

Tavon Battle, 36, was found guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court on Monday of first-degree murder, use of a handgun during the commission of a crime of violence and illegal possession of a regulated firearm in the fatal shooting of Kelsey Washington, said James Bentley, a spokesperson for the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office.

“This verdict is a testament to the steadfast commitment and skill of our prosecutors, the diligence of law enforcement, and the integrity of our justice system,” State’s Attorney Ivan Bates said in a statement. “While justice may have been rendered in the courtroom, it cannot repair the damage that has been done to this family.”

Bates said his office’s commitment to supporting victims and their loved ones remains unwavering. He also called for action to get illegal guns off the street and hold shooters accountable.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Battle’s attorney, Jason Silverstein, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Washington was shot in the head in the parking lot of Fayette Liquor Plus, near the corner of East Fayette and North Caroline streets in Dunbar-Broadway, on Nov. 7, 2022. She was later pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Baltimore Police reported that their investigation revealed that a man on a mountain bike pulled up to a car in the parking lot, pulled out a gun and started shooting into the vehicle. That’s when someone swung open the front passenger door and appeared to fire back.

Washington immediately dropped to the ground after the initial volley of shots, police reported.

Law enforcement obtained surveillance video and spoke to a witness who identified Battle as the shooter. Police arrested him at a home in Harford County.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

On GoFundMe, Latonia Pinkney, Washington’s mother, wrote that her daughter was in the neighborhood raising money for her school and her dance team.

Pinkney described her daughter as a beautiful, respectful, humble, outgoing, loving and caring person who loved to dance and spend time with friends and family.

Mayor Brandon Scott previously said in a statement that he had visited Washington’s family.

“My heart is broken over the loss of Kelsey,” Scott said. “I asked that all of Baltimore join me in spreading love and light to her family and friends as they deal with such an unspeakable loss.”

Battle is set to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2024. He’s being held without bail in the Baltimore Central Booking & Intake Center, according to jail records.

dylan.segelbaum@thebaltimorebanner.com

More From The Banner