June was the deadliest month Baltimore has seen since the summer of 2015. Forty-one people were killed in 30 days.
Baltimore is no stranger to such grim statistics. In fact, the city is on track for its eighth straight year of more than 300 homicides. There have been 238 killings as of Tuesday morning, according to the Baltimore Police Department.
Yet, here we hope to look beyond the figures, to remind ourselves that behind those numbers are lives. They were lives full of love, hopes, dreams and tragedy.
They were sons, daughters, husbands and neighbors. They helped those they didn’t know. They loved fishing and basketball and fashion.
One was laid to rest on a Ravens pillow. One fixed plates for the homeless on holidays. One cared for many animals. Another smiled a lot but talked little.
All are missed dearly.
Their stories live on in those they left behind. The Baltimore Banner attempted to reach the families and friends of those killed last June. Some of their stories are here. About others, we still know little.
If you know one of the victims and would like to share a memory, scroll to the bottom of the page for the contact information of reporters who welcome your stories.
Bernard Tillman took care of people, said his mother, Dawnella Tillman.
Even after a 10-hour workday, “Nate” or “Nathaniel,” as many called him, would make sure to help out his grandmother, Tillman said.
“He would go up there and make sure her sidewalk was shoveled and her grass was cut, and anything else that she needed,” Tillman said.
He was there for his daughter, too, as she fought cancer for six years. She died two years ago at age 9, Tillman said, and “Nate” took it hard. He also has a 2-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son, she said.
Tillman died at the scene of a shooting on June 1 in the 2800 block of Edmondson Avenue, according to the Baltimore Police Department. He was 34.
He would even care for animals, Tillman said. He had two pit bulls, she said. One passed away just two days after his death, on his side of the room. Tillman believes the dog was heartbroken.
He also had a turtle, Tillman said, and at one point had two love birds. He was just a caring person, she said. “If he finds something walking across the street, trust and believe he’s gonna bring it home and try to take care of it,” she said.
Kenneth Blackstone loved to listen to music while he cooked, said his mother, Leslie Stanton.
“I come out of the room and I’m like, ‘Are you singing or talking? Because you can’t sing,’ ” his mother said. “And then we start laughing and I join in, because he’ll be listening to oldies but goodies. And then I join in and we’re in the kitchen, dancing and singing to each other. I miss that.”
Blackstone graduated from FoodWorks culinary school in 2020 and wanted to be a cook, she said. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though, a lot of restaurants were closed. So he did other jobs, she said.
“He was the jack of all trades,” his mother said.
Blackstone was found shot on June 2 in the 300 block of South Pulaski Street and died at the scene, according to the BPD. He was 28 and had two daughters, ages 6 and 4.
After he died, many friends and family told Stanton what “Kenny” had done for them.
When a friend was pregnant and going through a rough time with her husband, Stanton said, “Kenny was there every day to help her out.”
When a cousin was having problems with her boyfriend, who would beat her up, Stanton said, Kenny went over to talk to him. After that, he didn’t touch her anymore.
When the holidays rolled around, he’d help his mother cook. And when they were done, he’d fix plates for family, friends and the homeless and hand them out.
“He was so compassionate to everyone and everything,” Stanton said. “I realized how much of an impact he made, on everyone. Some called him son. Some called him brother, and some called him friend. I’m so blessed that God picked me to be Kenny’s mother.”
Andrew Smith was the eldest of five siblings, his sister, India Kutcherman, said.
And “he was the epitome of a big brother,” she said.
Smith would check up on his siblings often. He worked as a truck driver, Kutcherman said, and would be away for long trips. But, he’d still call his siblings every week, she said. “What’s new?” he’d ask. “What’s going on?”
Smith, 29, had just come back from a weeklong trip when he was found fatally shot on June 2, Kutcherman said. He was found in the 4200 block of St. Georges Street, according to the BPD. Kutcherman said he had plans to purchase a truck and start his own business.
Kutcherman’s early memories, she said, are filled with her brother’s milestones. Seeing him graduate from high school, and later trade school. Seeing him go to the prom.
Kutcherman also remembers Smith chasing his younger siblings up the steps. He loved to do that, she said.
“He liked to play a lot, very goofy,” Kutcherman said.
When he wasn’t working, she said, Smith was always with his 2-year-old son. He took good care of his son, she said. Smith would take him to the park, or they’d watch TV together. And he would often send new pictures or videos of him, Kutcherman said.
Rickie Crenshaw was “a very athletic, loving and ambitious person who enjoyed rapping out loud, eating good food and spending time with his kids, family and friends,” according to an obituary shared on social media.
Crenshaw left behind two sons and a daughter, according to the obituary. He died at age 27, found fatally shot on June 3 in the 1000 block of East Lanvale Street, according to the BPD.
“He had a big open heart and had an impact on anyone who entered his life,” the obituary continued. “He loved hard, cared about everyone and helped whoever he could in any way he could.”
Crenshaw graduated from Dulaney High School and then went to Catonsville Community College, where he finished one year of studies, according to the obituary.
Dwayne Davis “was a nice guy,” said Pernetha Taylor, who didn’t know him well but lives in his neighborhood.
Davis once helped Taylor look for her dog, who got away while chasing a cat, she remembered. Davis saw her searching from his window and offered to help, Taylor said.
“He just went up and helped me. I ain’t asked him,” she said.
Davis was found shot in the 1900 block of Wilhelm Street and died at the scene, according to the BPD. He was 41.
Denard Hunt was always adventurous, his aunt, Latisha “Tish” Smith, said.
He went indoor skydiving, she said. He loved to do water sports and would swim in the deepest of lakes.
“And sometimes if he couldn’t swim there he would still try,” Smith said. “He was a daredevil.”
Hunt also liked to ride dirt bikes, Smith said. He bought one for himself and one for his 8-year-old daughter. They’d ride them together, Smith said.
“Wherever Daddy went, she went,” Smith said.
Hunt had two daughters, ages 11 and 8. He cared for his girls, Smith said. He was there for every occasion that his daughters had at school, she said. He even let his daughters put makeup on him.
“They loved their daddy,” Smith said. “Their daddy was their world.”
Hunt was shot on June 5, at age 31. He tried to drive himself to the hospital, Smith said, but crashed. He was found at the intersection of Belair Road and Sinclair Lane, according to a BPD social media post. At the time, he was doing maintenance work and was an entrepreneur who started a landscaping business about two years ago.
Before he died, he always loved to be stylish, Smith said.
“If you needed advice on how to look going into any occasion, anywhere, you went to him,” Smith said. “He always kept up with the style.”
Donald White died at the scene of a shooting on June 7, after police responded to the 1900 block of Ramsey Street according to BPD. He was 32.
According to a Facebook post, “he leaves behind a six-month-old baby, three younger siblings and a family unit that will never be the same.”
Darren Barnes was a family guy, said his mother, Sheila Moore.
Barnes loved being around his cousins. He visited his grandmother every day. He loved to dance at family parties. Even after he stopped playing basketball competitively, he’d play in his free time with family. It was one of his favorite hobbies, his mother said.
Asked about her favorite memory with her son, “his whole life,” she said.
Barnes died at age 22 in a quadruple shooting in the 5500 block of Plainfield Avenue on June 7 that also killed Craig Phillips Jr., according to the BPD. He was working for his father’s home improvement business at the time, and before that worked at Franklin Square Hospital as a cook.
His mother misses him. Barnes lived with her, and at night he’d text her to see what she was cooking for dinner. “If I didn’t answer him he’d keep texting me ‘Ma’ with question marks,” she said. And if she wasn’t cooking, he’d go out and get a crab cake.
“He did love crab cakes,” she said.
She misses his smile, too.
“He didn’t do a whole lot of talking,” his mother said, but “he smiled a lot.” He was always smiling, she said.
Craig Phillips Jr.
Craig Phillips “loved playing video games and being amongst family and friends, mostly his cousins,” according to an obituary posted by March Funeral Homes.
Phillips graduated from Reginald F. Lewis High School in 2021 and “worked for a short period of time at Pickersgill Retirement Rehabilitation and also managed his cousin’s rap career,” according to the obituary.
Phillips died in the hospital after a quadruple shooting on June 7 in the 5500 block of Plainfield Avenue that also killed Darren Barnes, according to the BPD. He was 19 years old.
“We are going to miss your voice and handsome smile,” the obituary read.
Kristy Helmert loved to help others, her mother, Joanne Helmert, said, “even complete strangers.”
She once stopped on the side of the road to help someone with a flat tire. When her grandfather was dying, she helped take care of him.
Her grandmother is still waiting for Helmert to “come running down the yard and say, ‘What do you need for me to do, Granny?’ ”
At Wawa, where she worked, she was named an outstanding associate of the month in 2020. She was up for employee of the year when she died. She was good at her job because she was outgoing and helped everyone, her mother said.
“Kristy comes in with a smile each and every day and no matter what is going on … Kristy talks to [customers] about their job or family, knows their special orders and knows them by name,” a 2021 letter from Wawa read.
Helmert died on June 12 at age 36, fatally shot on the 6400 block of Erdman Avenue, according to the BPD. Helmert had a 17-year-old daughter who “misses her very much,” her mother said.
She was a great mom. She loved to fish. And she was a talker, Joanne Helmert said, about “anything and everything.”
Meshach Daniel Dennis
Meshach Dennis loved fashion.
“No, put this and this together,” he’d tell his mother, Pauline Dennis, when they went shopping. He liked to wear hats, and baseball caps were a favorite. He loved the brand Puma, his mother said.
He’d lend others clothes, too. When a childhood friend told Dennis that he couldn’t attend graduation because he had nothing to wear, Dennis told him, “No, you got to graduate from school like the others,” his mother recalled.
Dennis went home and into his own closet. He took out one of his best suits and a pair of shoes, and gave them to his friend, his mother said.
“He would take the clothes off his back and give to somebody if they needed it,” she said. “That’s the type of person he was.”
Dennis was shot in January 2018 in the 4100 block of Groveland Avenue and died in October 2021. He was 37. His death was ruled a homicide on June 13, according to the BPD.
In the hospital and nursing home, she decorated his room with Ravens memorabilia. Her son loved the Ravens, she said.
“Even at his funeral, I lined his casket with the Ravens,” she said. “He had a Ravens pillow.”
Dwaine Edwards loved to fish, his sister, Lenell Edwards, said.
He’d go a couple of times a week, she said. And when he got back, he’d clean them, cut them up, fry them or put them on the grill.
“If you wanted fish, you could always come get some from his freezer,” she said.
He loved rockfish, Edwards said, but they were hard to catch. He’d always have catfish, she said.
Edwards was found with apparent gunshot wounds on June 14 in the 1300 block of North Stockton Street, according to BPD, and died at a local hospital. He was 50.
When he was younger, he’d fish with his dad, Edwards said. “So that was always something he wanted to do as a father with his children, and he did ultimately get to do that with a few of his kids,” she said. He had 10 children, she said.
Curtis Lee Jones Jr.
According to his obituary, Curtis Lee Jones Jr. loved to sew. And he was an amazing cook.
“He had a love for his mother and did everything to protect her,” his obituary read. “There was not one day that he did not call her. The day he died, she went looking for him because she had not seen nor heard from him.”
Jones attended Baltimore City Public Schools and later worked a variety of jobs. Most recently, he worked at an adult day care center, according to his obituary.
On June 15, Jones was found with gunshot wounds in the 400 block of West Mulberry Street, according to the BPD. He later died in a nearby hospital. He was 33.
“Little Curtis,” as he was known, was an only child and a “happy and independent person,” the obituary read.
Tyra Gillard described her son, Kevin Moody, as a great kid. One who was kind and hardworking – values she instilled in all her four children.
She recalled a time when he had just bought himself a new bike, but someone stole it from him. She said that he was not angry or upset, but instead showed grace and understanding.
“He said, ‘Mom, it’s OK, I’ll work to get another. ... It’s just sad that they couldn’t work like I did to get what they needed,’” Gillard said.
His work ethic was also shown through the opening of his new art business, MoodyArtz, in which he created art designs and logos for his customers.
Moody also started playing basketball at the age of 6. He loved the game so much he planned to play in college. But the 21-year-old’s life was cut short when he was shot and killed in the 2200 block of Ashton Street, according to the BPD.
Terry Alston was Ernestine Rich’s fourth of seven children. She said her son was a great big brother to her other son, Tyriq. He could also bake really well.
”My son, who was born after him, took his death the hardest. They were so close and he always looked after him,” Rich said. ”And he could make the best sweet potato pies and cookies you ever tasted.”
Alston grew up primarily in his grandmother’s home but would go back and forth between his grandmother’s and mother’s houses.
When he hadn’t shown up at either home for some time, the news of his death came shortly after. Police found the 25-year-old Alston in the 2400 block of Kermit Court. He died on June 16 from injuries sustained in January 2017, according to the BPD.
William Christian loved the Ravens, his fiancee, Corinne Hurt, said.
Christian had a large tattoo on his forearm of the Ravens bird, Hurt said. Every Sunday during the NFL season, Christian would organize a get-together with family and friends to watch the game, she said.
His seat, Hurt said, was always the spot directly in front of the TV. People knew not to sit in there, she said.
“It don’t matter where we at, or whose house we over, whether it was a playoff game or preseason, he is planted in front of the TV,” Hurt said.
Christian died on June 16, found with a gunshot wound in the 3500 block of West Caton Avenue. He was 49 and had 14 children.
He was a family man, his cousin Tameeka Vice said. He was committed to his children and took good care of them, she said. When he died, his youngest son was 3 years old, Hurt said, and they did everything together.
And he was a comedian, Vice said. “He could make a joke out of anything,” she said. “To me, he was our family’s version of Kevin Hart.”
Ryan Harris was always the first person on the dance floor, said his mother, Racquel Harris.
“Everybody would say he had no rhythm,” Harris said, “but that did not stop him.”
Harris was always laughing, his mother said. He had a contagious smile. And “his jokes were really not that funny, but that didn’t stop him from telling them,” she said.
She knows she will see her son again, Harris said, but she misses him. She’s getting used to a new normal, she said. Harris’ laughter will be missing from the dinner table at holidays, she said. His favorite salmon dish will too. He made it for every holiday, his mother said.
He was a good cook, she said. After he died, she said, his family had a cookout and tried to make Harris’ “special corn.” But they couldn’t get it right, Harris said.
Harris was found shot in the 200 block of East Redwood Street on June 16, according to the BPD. He was 25.
In 25 years, he accomplished a lot, his mother said. Harris entered the military when he was 18, after graduating high school in 2014. He held various positions, such as network operations engineer, network technician and telecommunications technician.
He served tours in Jordan and Kuwait, according to his obituary. He advanced to the rank of sergeant, and won numerous awards. In a statement, Maj. Gen. John Hussey, former commanding general of the 200th Military Police Command, said, “I remember when Ryan came to my office to fix my computer. He was very respectful. I could tell that he had a solid upbringing. I admired his demeanor. He was a young man who was doing the right things.” Harris was well-respected by both leaders and peers, according to the statement.
And while doing so, he also took great care of his two boys, his mother said, made many friends, and would often bring his mother hot chocolate, which he knew she loved. He’d bring a cup to her job, she said, or he’d knock on her door.
“Hi, Mom, just stopped by to bring you hot chocolate on the way to work,” he’d say.
Darrell Fulton loved to skateboard. He often read the Bible. And he loved Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, his younger sister, Lakeya Fulton, wrote in a text.
“I tell you he wasn’t big on candy, but then Reese’s cups he’s grabbing one for sure,” she wrote.
On June 17, Fulton was found in the 2700 block of West Belvedere Avenue and had been shot, according to BPD and media reports. He died in a local hospital. He was 31.
He mostly stayed to himself, Fulton wrote, “never bother nobody but his mom and sisters with his kisses which we loved so much.”
He’d sit at their mother’s table, Fulton remembers, with the radio on, relaxing his nerves. She misses him.
“I miss him going through my car sitting in my car with me when I’m feeling down. I miss him telling me to leave them dumb guys alone I dealt with. I miss him telling me to wear my natural hair,” Fulton wrote.
Ashley Nicole Dyson
Ciera Johnson says she is still at a loss for words about the death of her sister, Ashley Nicole Dyson.
She remembers her sister as being a people person.
“My sister was lively and had so much energy. ... It was great when she was around kids,” Johnson said.
”She didn’t deserve to die the way that she did,” Johnson said. “I am not sure how to feel about it, but it all is just really sad.”
According to a news release, officers were called to the 2400 block of Talbot Road, where they found Dyson, 35, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Once medics arrived, they pronounced the victim dead at the scene, the release stated.
Trevor White was the owner of RYMKS Bar and Grille, a Caribbean restaurant in Little Italy, when he was gunned down outside of his home in Northeast Baltimore early on Father’s Day.
Baltimore Banner reporter John-John Williams spoke with Danielle White, his sister, who last saw him hours before his death at the birthday party she shared with her twin sister, which was held at his restaurant.
She said that her brother was more than just a business owner. He willingly sought out other small businesses to uplift the Black community businesses.
White was killed in the 1300 block of Lakeside Avenue on June 19, according to the BPD. He was 40.
“If it was a Black business, he was going to support it,” she said. “I think it came from how Daddy used to always support small businesses in Syracuse. Coming to Baltimore, he felt that was what he needed to do. He needed to give his people jobs, opportunities, and push them into the right direction.”
Sai Charan Nakka
Sai Charan Nakka, 25, was a software engineer in Baltimore. He had come to the U.S. from India in 2020 to attend the University of Cincinnati.
On June 19, Nakka was found in a crashed vehicle with head trauma at the Caton Avenue exit of I-95, according to a BPD social media post. It was later discovered that he had a gunshot wound. He died of his injuries at age 25.
According to an Indian news site, the Embassy of India said it was in close touch with his family to facilitate the return of his remains. The embassy has not responded to multiple requests from The Baltimore Banner for an update on the matter.
Markeece Jordan always saw the best in everyone, his father, Jerome Bethel, said.
Sometimes Bethel would tell his son not to hang around certain guys. “Dad, they are good people,” Jordan would tell him. “People just don’t understand them.”
That was the kind of person Jordan was. He would listen to people, Bethel said, for as long as they needed, no matter who it was.
He could be talking to someone for 45 minutes, Bethel remembers, even when he and his Dad had somewhere to be. “Well, Dad, they needed to talk,” he’d say.
Sometimes when Jordan walked up his block, people would be waiting to say hello to him, Bethel said.
Jordan would help people in other ways, too, Bethel said. He’d go to the store for older neighbors to get their groceries, or he would take their trash out. When Bethel came home from jail around two years ago, Jordan took him in and moved him into his home, he said.
“He didn’t make me pay no rent, no nothing,” Bethel said. They were still living together when Jordan was killed, he said.
On June 22, Jordan was found shot in the 1900 block of Belair Road. He later died at Johns Hopkins Hospital, according to BPD and news reports. He was 29. Jordan had three daughters and a 3-month-old son who was named after him, Bethel said.
Jordan had aspirations, Bethel said. His dream was to become a songwriter. And, even through hardship, he never stopped working toward that goal, Bethel said. He made beats and wrote raps. He was planning to turn a room of his home into a music studio, Bethel said.
“He was always just pushing forward,” Bethel said. “Nothing got him down.”
If he could talk to Jordan right now, Bethel said, he knew that would still be true. “He wouldn’t say, ‘I lost this, I lost that,’ ” Bethel said. “He’d say, ‘Well, Dad, I’m in a better place.’ ”
According to his obituary, Dametrius Johnson’s passion was “rapping and producing music.” It began at a young age.
“Meechie,” as family and friends called him, “was so talented that he had multiple managers reach out to sign him a deal, but he knew his purpose was greater than what the industry had in mind for him, so he dedicated his life to becoming one of the biggest independent artists to come out of Baltimore,” the obituary states.
Johnson, 26, attended Baltimore City Public Schools, according to the obituary.
He was found shot on June 26 after officers responded to the 5300 block of Frankford Avenue, according to the BPD. He died at a local hospital.
According to the obituary, “he was kind-hearted, full of laughter and a natural born leader who would say ‘Wassup Dummy’ filled with the Love he had for you. While speaking of the Love he had for others, Meechie would kiss his Mom on the forehead and say ‘I LOVE YOU BABY’ on a daily basis.”
Piccola Hines, Makeon Hines’ mother. She said her son kept a checklist in his car to refer to what he needed to pay out each month.
At the top of that list were recurring expenses for his 2-year-old son, like diapers and formula.
”He was such a great father and always had his son,” said Piccola Hines. “I remember at one point he was really struggling and rather than giving his child back to his mom, he kept the baby and continued to work to get him everything he needed.”
Hines was found with apparent gunshot wounds on June 27 in the 2600 block of Robb Street, according to the BPD, and died at an area hospital. He was 24.
Hines left behind not just a son, but a grieving mother and a slew of brothers and sisters.
“It’s really hard on us, but I just wish people understand the hurt and pain that they cause families when they take someone’s life,” his mother said.
The Baltimore Banner attempted to profile all of June’s homicide victims. However, there were some families we were not able to reach. Others did not return phone calls or declined to comment. Below are the names of the victims we still know little about.
If you know one of the individuals below and would like to share a memory, contact Cadence Quaranta at email@example.com, or Penelope Blackwell at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to share your stories.
June 5: Tyrone Walker
Tyrone Walker was found with apparent gunshot wounds on June 5 after officers responded to the 200 block of South Loudon Avenue. He was 37.
June 6: Justin Stewart
Justin Stewart was found shot on June 6 in the 800 block of McAleer Court and died shortly afterward at a hospital, according to the BPD. He was 32.
June 7: Brian Jones
Brian Jones, 19, was found shot along with two others in the 3100 block of Chesterfield Avenue on June 7, and later died, according to the BPD.
June 9: Anthony Barksdale
Anthony Barksdale died after he was found unconscious in the 1800 block of West Lexington Street in March, according to BPD and news reports. His death was ruled a homicide on June 9, after his autopsy revealed he died from blunt force trauma, according to the BPD. He was 63.
June 11: Bernard Jackson II
Bernard Jackson II died at age 56, found shot multiple times on June 11 in the 3600 block of West Lexington Street, according to the BPD.
June 13: Legacy Bell
On March 1, police found Legacy Bell unresponsive in the 1800 block of West Lombard Street. She was 6 months old. Her death was ruled a homicide on June 13 after an autopsy revealed she died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the BPD and news reports.
June 18: Davon Battle
Patrol officers were called to the 2700 block of Maryland Avenue on June 18, where 35-year-old Davon Battle was found suffering from an apparent gunshot wound and died at the scene, according to the BPD.
June 18: Travis Johnson
Officers responded to the 1900 block of Ramsay Street on June 18. Travis Johnson, 29, was found shot and taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died, according to the BPD.
June 19: Bilal Baha Omar
Bilal Baha Omar, 50, died after he was found with multiple gunshot wounds in the 2700 block of Kinsey Avenue, according to the BPD.
June 21: Donta Cory Wheeler
Donta Cory Wheeler, 43, was found in the 1900 block of North Patterson Park Avenue suffering from a gunshot wound on June 21, according to the BPD and news reports. He died at an area hospital.
June 22: Jeremiah Williamson
Jeremiah Williamson was pronounced dead at the scene in the 2500 block of Georgetown Road on June 22, according to the BPD. The 18-year-old was found severely burned with a gunshot wound to his head, near railroad tracks.
June 23: Robert Brown
Robert Brown, 40, was found in the 1600 block of West North Avenue on June 23, shot in the head, according to the BPD. He later died.
June 25: Devin Nathaniel Young
Devin Nathaniel Young, 22, was found with multiple gunshot wounds in the 800 block of South Hanover Street on June 25, according to the BPD. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
June 26: Devonta Powell
Officers found Devonta Powell, 21, after responding to the 5300 block of Frankford Avenue on June 26, according to the BPD. He died at the scene.
June 30: Phillip Wallace
Phillip Wallace, 31, was shot and killed on June 30 in the 4800 block of Pimlico Road, according to the BPD.
In addition, an unidentified victim was found dead on June 28 in the 800 block of Showell Court, according to BPD and news reports. It was ruled a homicide.