"We can't remain silent..." Rasheed Baker shot and killed: Matt's Memo
The emergency dispatcher calmly, dispassionately and professionally sent the Mini 18 rescue rig to a shooting on Barnes Avenue in Syracuse's Valley neighborhood. On the recording you can hear him describe the victim as a man in his twenties in "full arrest" with a gun shot to the head. The responding crews worked on the young man, but acknowledged from the scene his life was in jeopardy.
They kept working, but 21 year old Rasheed Baker was declared dead after arriving at Upstate Hospital. Word began to spread of his death. By the morning friends were talking. This was the same Rasheed who starred on the football field and basketball court for Jamesville-Dewitt High School which is known for being a suburban school district with some of the best athletics in the area. He has been attending Onondaga Community College.
The questions began. What led to the shooting? What was Rasheed doing on Barnes Avenue? Had he been in trouble before? We have some of those answers tonight, but not all.
Rasheed was on Barnes Avenue at his family's home. They have lived on Barnes for years. When I called the house this afternoon I talked with a woman close to the family who did not want to be identified. She described Rasheed as a good young man. You could hear the business of the grief in the background the phone call. The family had come together to pray.
The family has yet to learn what happened outside the house at 11:20 p.m. They say Rasheed said he had dropped or lost his wallet and he needed to look for it outside. That was the last they saw him alive. The shooter fled. At first there was concern he was still in the area. Over the last 24 hours detectives have worked to figure out who he is, where he went and what led to the violent confrontation with Rasheed.
I asked the family friend if there was anything the 21 year old's mother would like us to do. She answered, "We want them to be found. Justice to be served. If anyone has seen anything or heard anything please call the police.”
As we continued to talk she said, "What mother wouldn’t want to know who murdered her child?" She was particularly frustrated because of the good young man she knew Rasheed to be. "We can’t remain silent while our babies are being gunned down. Especially when they are not leading a life of violence."
We will learn more about the young man and the events of that night. We will see more friends and family fondly remembering Rasheed Baker. He appears to be universally loved. You can see why when you see the clip from the television news after one of his big football games four years ago. His smile is bright. His voice filled with energy. His joy for life appears contagious.