Less than six months after her son was killed in the 800 block of Gretna Court, Donna Bruce watched with horror on Instagram Live as the Brooklyn Day event she knew well devolved into a chaotic shooting on that same street, without a police officer in sight.

Bruce, who grew up in the neighborhood but moved out more than a decade ago, said she was not shocked to see the event go unpoliced and turn violent.

But that didn’t lessen her frustration and exhaustion, which she vented openly at city officials and City Council members during a marathon hearing on the Brooklyn Day shooting that ended with two dead and 28 wounded.

When Bruce took the stage, she was wrapped in the arms of a friend. Her voice already cracking as she began her testimony, she stared council members and city officials in the eye.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Her son, 25-year-old Ivean Earle Williams, Jr., was killed in the neighborhood in January of this year, she told them.

“He had a baby on the way, and she will never know him,” she told them “My son grew up there. Everybody knows him, everybody loves him, and no one really never thought that something like that would happen.”

She also testified she had never seen police at the Brooklyn Day festival.

”They’re barely even there. The only time that they come to that community is to arrest the residents,” Bruce said to council members.

After leaving the hearing, Bruce was approached outside council chambers by City Councilwoman Odette Ramos and a member of the mayor’s executive team, who each offered their support.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

In an interview with The Baltimore Banner, she described the Brooklyn neighborhood as an “open air drug market” and an “island,” isolated from surrounding communities with little to no city resources or services.

Bruce said that police rarely intervene in the neighborhood, even when there is a threat of things turning violent. The reason, she suspected, is “they don’t care about them.”

Those resentments were representative of an undercurrent of frustration and a feeling of being neglected expressed by residents in the wake of one of the worst shootings in the city’s history.

Like City Council members, Bruce found it hard to believe police were unaware of the party and when it would take place, saying that it had been circulating on social media for months.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

To that end, Bruce said it was only because of her efforts that police were able to locate a suspect in the killing of her son, who was killed on Jan. 23.

Baltimore Banner reporter Emily Sullivan contributed to this report.

bconarck@thebaltimorebanner.com