“We have a moral obligation to re-imagine what public safety looks like here in our city,” Baltimore’s Mayor, Brandon Scott, said in a press conference this past May. This vision apparently includes the City’s Safe Streets program made up of “Violence Interrupters” – men and women who bravely patrol troubled city neighborhoods with the intent to deescalate or reduce potentially violent incidents, including the reflex of retaliation after violence occurs.
Kenyell Kenyatta Wilson was such a member of Safe Streets Cherry Hill until he was shot and killed this past Thursday afternoon. According to police, Wilson drove himself to Harbor Hospital, walking into the ER at approximately 4:41 p.m. with multiple gunshot wounds. A short time later he was pronounced dead.
Wilson, 44, had been with Safe Streets for approximately nine years and, like many of the employees and volunteers in “Violence Interrupter” organizations in cities around the country, he had previous run-ins with the criminal justice system, but had managed to turn himself around.
Wilson’s is the second death of a Safe Streets’ worker in the past six months. On January 27th, Dante Barksdale, then Director of Safe Streets Baltimore, was shot in the head and killed. An arrest in that matter was made five months later when police arrested Garrick L. Powell Jr., 28. Powell had been arrested in Anne Arundel County in February and just several weeks after the Barksdale murder. Although charged with twenty-three misdemeanor and felony counts, including trafficking, distribution, and handgun violations, Powell was released on his own recognizance. Police later determined that, at the time of his arrest in Anne Arundel County, Powell was in possession of the handgun linked to Barksdale’s murder.
Wilson is survived by his wife and eleven children.