It’s a loss that no mother should have to endure – but Rosheda Murray has suffered it several times over.
Rosheda’s 18-year-old son Rodrick Burden was gunned down in a Baltimore street in March 2012 as he headed to the store to buy medication for a toothache.
Almost a decade later the bullet-riddled body of his twin brother Romar Burden, 26, was found stripped of belongings and dumped in a gutter. To this day their killers have never been caught.
So when mother-of-five Rosheda hears Fox News host Tucker Carlson comparing her home city to violence-plagued Haiti, she wipes her tears away and nods in agreement.
‘You can see it here with your own eyes,’ Rosheda, 49, tells DailyMail.com, clutching a photo of her beloved twins.
Baltimore, Maryland suffered its deadliest January in almost 50 years, with 36 homicides – most of which were shooting deaths in robberies and brazen attacks. As DailyMail.com toured the area last week we stumbled across a taped-off street where a police forensics team was marking out more than a dozen shell casings in the aftermath of a 10:30am shooting
Across the street the words ‘no shoot zone’ are spray-painted on the outside of the K&K Carry Out fast food joint but the owners take no chances; they serve customers from behind bullet-resistant plexiglass
The aftermath of the 2015 riots and protests is still visible in West Baltimore where dozens of shops, businesses and gas stations were burned down and ransacked
Mom-of-five Rosheda Murray tells DailyMail.com she wants to pack up and leave Baltimore for the sake of her youngest son, Jarrod, nine, (left) who is being raised without a father and his twin brothers – all of whom became victims of gun violence in the last decade
Murray lost her 18-year-old son Rodrick Burden (pictured left at the age of 10) to senseless gun violence in 2012, only for his twin brother Romar (pictured right) to also be gunned down eight years later at the age of 26
According to residents, shootings and random acts of violence have become so widespread, they can’t go anywhere without being fearful of the danger Pictured: Crime scene outside a Baltimore liquor store shortly after a shooting
‘You hear about people getting ready to drop their kids at school and someone walks up and takes the parent out in front of the children.
‘They don’t care who they target. The saddest part is they don’t even need a reason.’
Carlson took aim at Charm City last week after it suffered its deadliest January in nearly 50 years with 36 lives snuffed out, the majority shot to death in robberies and brazen attacks.
Victims included a police lieutenant’s husband gunned down by a teen with an open warrant for firearms offenses; a restaurant manager killed in a botched robbery; and a mom-of-three blasted dead in the street as she tried to earn extra money as a Doordash driver.
‘Whatever you do, don’t go to Baltimore,’ Carson warned viewers. ‘It’s one of the worst places in the western hemisphere. It’s a bit of Haiti in the mid-Atlantic.’
The city has recorded more than 300 homicides every year since 2015 — an average of one every 30 hours for seven straight years — and residents are fearful of yet another 12 months of carnage.
Mom-of-five Rosheda, out of work since she lost her school receptionist job during the pandemic, wants to pack up and leave Baltimore for the sake of her youngest son, Jarrod.
The nine-year-old is growing up without a father after Rosheda’s former partner Qurell Gittings, 38, was shot dead when an argument turned deadly in 2014.
‘The violence has gotten so bad here that, not only have I lost two sons, I’ve lost a nephew and my godson was murdered and thrown in a train tunnel when he was 14 years old,’ Rosheda goes on.
Baltimore saw more than 1,800 crimes in the first month of 2022
Baltimore continues to see some of the highest murder rates in the nation as the city continues to report more than 300 homicides — one every 30 hours— every year since 2015
Fox News host Tucker Carlson prompted a flood of outrage from the public last week after comparing Baltimore to the island country of ‘Haiti’ due to the high homicide rates
Tucker Carlson said Baltimore was ‘a little bit of Haiti in the mid-Atlantic.’ Pictured above are the bodies of two people killed in a shooting with police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti last July
‘And we’re also losing the ones behind the trigger. Some of them are 13, 14, 15. Eventually it will be their turn.’
Baltimore has already left an indelible mark on 11-year-old Kaelin Washington in the form of a bullet lodged in her back.
Kaelin had walked a short distance from her godmother’s house to the store to buy a bag of Hot Cheetos and a Slim Jim when a gun battle erupted three blocks away.
‘I heard four or five shots and I got scared. I wanted to run but I froze and it was too late. Then I felt it in my chest,’ the brave girl tells DailyMail.com.
‘There was a little pain but I felt more sleepy. I was trying to yell but my body was too tired.’
The bullet struck Kaelin several inches above the heart, puncturing her lung before embedding itself so deep inside her that doctors fear they will do more harm than good by removing it.
She spent ten days in the hospital following the shooting in March of last year and suffers lingering pain and anxiety when she hears loud bangs or fireworks.
Her mom Jasmine Ramsay, 33, was born and raised in Baltimore but now sees danger lurking around every corner.
‘I’m not saying bad things don’t happen elsewhere but you can’t go anywhere in the city, you can’t do anything, without feeling fearful of what could happen,’ says Jasmine, a hospital lab technician.
Baltimore mom Jasmine Ramsey, 33, told DailyMail.com she no longer feels safe allowing her 11-year-old daughter Kaelin Washington (pictured) to play outside like a normal child now that there is danger lurking in every corner
Kaelin was just 10 years old when she was shot in the chest while walking to the store to buy snacks last February
The bullet struck Kaelin several inches above the heart, puncturing her lung before embedding itself so deep inside her that doctors fear they will do more harm than good by removing it
‘I don’t want to let my daughter go outside to play. I can’t let her be a normal child. There is a crisis here and it’s getting worse and worse.’
Mother-of-two Lakeisha Price, 42, was the unintended target of a shooting in 2019 when masked gangsters shot at her vehicle while she was driving alongside her boyfriend
Carlson’s monologue savaged Democrats at both the city and national level for turning ‘once beautiful’ Baltimore ‘into a slum’ with progressive policies that, he claims, coddle African American lawbreakers and condone drug abuse.
He singled out White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in particular for appearing to dismiss questions on surging US crime, accusing her of not caring what happens in urban communities barely 40 miles from Washington, D.C.
‘Baltimore is exactly what happens when you apply Jen Psaki’s ideas to governing,’ fumed the Fox firebrand.
‘Baltimore is a city run by people who fervently believe in the equity agenda and consider gender studies a legitimate academic discipline.
‘In Baltimore, pretty much everyone in charge is black, yet it’s a matter of religious faith that the main thing holding the city back is white racism.’
Carlson’s dig prompted a flood of outrage with celebrity critics flooding to Twitter to brand him racist, many saying he compared Baltimore to Haiti merely because the two have majority-black populations.
It’s unclear when the Tucker Carlson Tonight host last visited Haiti.
The US State Department currently advises against all travel to the third-largest Caribbean nation as it battles a wave of civil unrest, kidnappings and political assassinations that culminated last year in the murder of its President, Jovenel Moise.
But for some of those living with the painful legacy of losing loved ones to Baltimore’s deadly shooting epidemic the comparison does not seem so absurd.
Lakeisha Price, a mother-of-two, was on a date with her boyfriend Sidney Brewer, 35, in May 2019 when masked gangsters emerged from the shadows and sprayed bullets at their car.
They either mistook Lakeisha, 42, for someone else or simply didn’t care who they slaughtered alongside their intended target, Brewer.
Price’s cousin and former cop Larry Jackson, 52, told DailyMail.com the mom had never been involved in any trouble but paid the price of dating ‘the wrong’ man
Jackson criticized the city’s leadership, including black and Democratic leaders who he says have failed to seize the opportunity to turn things around despite being in power for decades
‘Lakeisha was a great mom, she had never been to jail, never had any trouble. She just dated the wrong dude,’ her cousin Larry Jackson, a 52-year-old ex-cop, tells DailyMail.com.
Jackson spent 23 years in the Maryland Transit Administration Police Department, including 14 years assigned to a DEA task force in Baltimore, before retiring in January 2020.
He’s now studying the experiences of his fellow black police officers for a PhD.
Jckson served the majority of his career under black Democrat mayors – two of whom, Sheila Dixon and Catherine Pugh – were forced to step down amid criminal corruption scandals, the latter sentenced to three years in Federal prison for fraud.
His time also overlapped with the 2015 appointment of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who announced in March 2021 that she would make permanent a policy brought into effect during the pandemic to no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution and nonviolent misdemeanors.
‘The era of “tough on crime” is over,’ she declared in an interview with the Washington Post, vowing instead to divert offenders into programs to combat addiction and mental health disorders.
Mosby, a progressive Democrat who says she models herself on Vice President Kamala Harris, remains in her $248,000 per year role despite being indicted herself in January on federal charges of perjury and filing false mortgage applications.
She denies fraudulently citing Covid-19-related financial hardship in order to withdraw $90,000 early from her retirement account to use on down payments for Florida vacation homes.
Owner of King Grocery Mart Mohammad Rashad Khan, 54, told DailyMail.com his business has tanked because residents have turned to buying drugs instead
Mohammad says the already-struggling area became a ghost town when the pandemic forced people in doors in 2020
‘A lot of the problems here stem from the fact there are a lot of systemic racism issues that have not been dealt with,’ Jackson says.
‘But black leaders have been in a position of authority in the city of Baltimore for 20 years. We’ve had a succession of black mayors. None of them have seized the opportunity to turn things around.
‘It’s not racist to criticize poor leadership. These politicians need to step up and do their job.’
Several serving cops told DailyMail.com of their frustrations over Mosby’s edict which they say has left them powerless to tackle smaller crimes that can quickly spiral into violence.
They argue that Baltimore’s policing problems were exacerbated when the city took several days to stamp out fiery riots triggered by the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American who suffered a broken neck in the back of a police van.
Mosby filed criminal charges against six officers – three of them black – for not properly securing Gray before allegedly giving him a ‘rough ride’. She failed to secure a single conviction while federal prosecutors declined to press charges.
‘All she succeeded in doing was galvanizing hatred of the police,’ said a law enforcement source. ‘That made a tough job even tougher.’
Set against an explosive backdrop of systemic racial issues and deep historic poverty, the 2015 protests saw rioters lay waste to swaths of the city.
At least 250 were arrested and 350 businesses were trashed or looted before a state of emergency was declared and the Maryland National Guard helped police restore calm.
Some of the worst destruction happened in West Baltimore where dozens of shops, businesses and gas stations were burned down and ransacked.
Many of the stores DailyMail.com visited seven years ago have given up and shuttered their doors
When DailyMail.com last encountered shopkeeper Mohammad Rashad Khan seven years ago he was sweeping up broken glass from smashed windows at his King Grocery Mart.
Unlike many of the other stores we visited at the time that have given up and shuttered their doors, Mohammad is still in business despite suffering $25,000 of damage.
‘The government came here, the TV news came here, they all said they would help me but I didn’t receive a single penny,’ says the 54-year-old, who left Pakistan for America 24 years ago.
Mohammad says the already-struggling area became a ghost town when the pandemic forced people indoors in 2020.
‘All people buy here now is drugs,’ he added. ‘I have zero customers but I’m drowning in bills. I suffered a heart attack because of the stress.’
Across the street the words ‘no shoot zone’ are sprayed on the outside of the K&K Carry Out fast food joint but the owners are taking no chances; they serve customers from behind bullet-resistant plexiglass.
As DailyMail.com toured the area Friday morning we stumbled across a taped-off street where a police forensics team was marking out more than a dozen shell casings in the aftermath of a 10:30am shooting.
According to a release from the Baltimore Police Department, an unknown attacker fired at an 18-year-old girl from his car.
She was ‘visibly shaken up’ but miraculously escaped with just a graze gunshot wound to her head in the shocking incident that didn’t make the evening bulletins.
John Williams, 53, a funeral director in the city, said homicides in the city have become so common they are sometimes ignored by the media
Police are seen issuing a ticket to a man in the city on Friday
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, a progressive Democrat who says she models herself on Vice President Kamala Harris, announced in March 2021 that she would make permanent a policy brought into effect during the pandemic to no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution and nonviolent misdemeanors
‘There is just something about homicide in Baltimore, we have come to expect it,’ laments John Williams, 53, a funeral director whose business is a block away.
‘The news never reports it, nobody cares. I see it first-hand. I hear the mothers crying. I see the children of the dead. You can never get used to it.
‘I think the pandemic has exacerbated a lot of things. Honestly I think it’s driven a lot of people bats**t crazy.’
Williams is not alone in linking surging crime to Covid-19.
While conservatives blame ‘woke’ policies and calls to defund the police for the rise in lawlessness and smash and grab looting raids afflicting cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and Portland, the White House has consistently blamed it on the socio-economic fallout from the virus.
Seema Iyer, an economics professor at the University of Baltimore who has studied the impact of crime across the city’s neighborhoods, says lockdowns and virtual schooling meant fewer people were on the streets.
Fewer people on the streets meant fewer witnesses and less of a deterrent to criminals who might otherwise be wary of committing brazen offenses.
‘There is something that is happening that is deeper than just Baltimore. Crime is up in every major city,’ she tells DailyMail.com.
Iyer says her biggest worry for Baltimore is the ‘random’ nature of many of the recent homicides that have left virtually no corner of the city unscathed.
Similar fears prompted a group of 30 businesses from the waterside entertainment district, Fell’s Point, to write to leaders last June saying they wouldn’t pay taxes unless the rampant crime and drug dealing was addressed.
‘We have reached our breaking point,’ they warned the city’s Democrat Mayor, Brandon Scott, after a weekend of bloodshed saw three people shot in one night.
‘These are not concealed, clandestine operations by sophisticated gangs with suppliers and lookouts,’ the letter went on.
‘These are brazen individuals who conduct their business in plain sight because they know Baltimore City will do nothing to prevent or punish them.’
Tragedy struck in the same neighborhood when restaurant manager Chesley Patterson, 44, was shot dead early on January 24 as he stopped off at a store on his way home from work.
Two hours later police were called to the scene of another shooting in Northeast Baltimore where mom-of-three Cheryl McCormack, 53, was pronounced dead.
Her husband Jim McCormack told the Baltimore Sun that his wife was working as a Doordash driver when two men pulled a gun and opened fire when she refused to hand over money.
Last month, restaurant manager Chesley Patterson, 44, (left) was shot dead early on January 24 as he stopped off at a store on his way home from work. Two hours later, resident Cheryl McCormack was killed in a shooting in Northeast Baltimore
Veteran Amtrak conductor James Blue III, 43, the husband of a police lieutenant, was gunned down outside a new house he had purchased as a renovation project in Northeast Baltimore
A day later veteran Amtrak conductor James Blue III, 43, the husband of a police lieutenant, was gunned down outside a new house he had purchased as a renovation project in Northeast Baltimore.
The dad-of-three was on the phone to his oldest son Jadan, 23, when gunfire rang out and the line went dead.
‘I heard 20 shots on the phone but I couldn’t believe that they were at you,’ Jadan wrote in a touching online tribute to his father.
Heartbroken Jadan, who recently transferred to Virginia Tech to play football, added: ‘I can’t wait to write a book about you because there’s no way that I could write enough about the impact you made.
‘You were a lion with a big mane like you always said, and I’m Simba.’
Sahiou Kargbo, an 18-year-old high school student with an open warrant for possessing and discharging a firearm as a minor, was charged with murdering Blue in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity.
It’s tragedies such as these and the many more he encountered in his years on patrol that convinced Larry Jackson that his city needs to change direction before it’s consumed by pain and chaos.
‘These people don’t want to live like this but they don’t have a choice. These are real stories about real human beings whose lives have been destroyed,’ he tells DailyMail.com.
‘So, no, Baltimore is not Haiti, it’s actually the United States of America. And that’s what makes what is going on here completely unacceptable.’