The 16-year-old charged with murdering Deanta Dorsey was on juvenile probation for a prior gun charge when police say he opened fire on a crowd of students across from Edmondson-Westside High School.
Baltimore District Judge Flynn M. Owens cited the teen’s juvenile record on Friday when denying him bail. He’s a ninth-grader in the city schools.
The teen faces a number of charges, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and gun charges in the attack last month that left Dorsey dead and four other students wounded.
“Needless to say,” Owens said, “the charges are quite serious.”
During the hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Susan Rodgers offered no motive for the shooting, but said Baltimore Police searched the teen’s home and found a loaded handgun. Law enforcement relied on surveillance camera footage to connect the teen to the attack. No family members showed up for him in court.
Under Maryland law, the case is shielded pending a hearing during which a judge will decide whether it should remain in adult court or be adjudicated in the juvenile justice system. The Baltimore Banner is not identifying the teen.
Students had gathered on Jan. 4 at a Popeyes in the Edmondson Village Shopping Center across the street from the high school during their lunch break when investigators believe two people opened fire on the group, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at the time. Four other students were wounded.
Earlier on Friday, Dorsey’s father, stepmother and aunt, as well as their attorney, appeared together outside the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in Baltimore. Loved ones cried while their lawyer, Thiru Vignarajah, spoke about the gun violence that continues to affect young people in the city.
Several weeks after the mass shooting, another student at Edmondson-Westside High School was shot and killed on East 29th Street near Fenwick Avenue in Coldstream Homestead Montebello.
“We knew it was easy in a city like this for a horrific tragedy — even one that claimed the life of a young boy, where four other teenagers were shot across the street from a high school in broad daylight — we knew even in that circumstance, that the tide of violence could wash over and make people forget the name of Deanta Dorsey,” Vignarajah said.
Vignarajah described the case as an all-around tragedy, adding that there are no winners. Dorsey’s family members declined to speak to reporters, but want the teen to be prosecuted as an adult in Baltimore Circuit Court.
Dorsey was the oldest of 11 children and affectionately known as “Dink.” He was loyal and kind and loved his family, according to his obituary.
His favorite food was cereal and milk. He loved playing basketball and video games, the obituary states, and always had a smile on his face.
Becky Reynolds, whose brother, Timothy, was shot and killed after approaching a group of squeegee workers with a baseball bat at the intersection of Light and Conway streets on July 7, 2022, spoke outside the courthouse to show support for the Dorsey family.
“What affects one of us, affects all of us,” Reynolds said. “We need to come together as people and fight for our young people before they become perpetrators — and before they become victims.”