Mentors remember the day Taylor Davis sat on the steps and cried. A student at Renaissance Academy High School, she was failing one of her classes and feared she wouldn’t be able to graduate.
But once her tears had dried, the mentors said, Davis got to work. She was determined to graduate on time, and, in June of last year, she did. She planned to work in health care.
Davis wasn’t afraid of the violence in her neighborhood, mentor Daijeon Powell said, but she was aware of it. “That’s where her drive came from,” he said. “She wanted to get out.”
The 18-year-old was fatally shot Monday night in Midtown Edmondson in West Baltimore, near her home on Appleton Street. Two other people, men ages 20 and 25, were injured in the same incident, according to police.
Asked whether Davis was the intended target of the shooting, police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said detectives were continuing to investigate the incident and that the motive was not known.
People who answered the door at her home Tuesday declined to comment on her death. Those who knew her at school say she was a bright young woman, driven to succeed.
“This young lady was awesome,” said Corey Witherspoon, who, like Powell, knew Davis through Seeds of Promise, a mentoring program at Renaissance Academy. “Just a ball of joy. If anybody needed help, she would help.”
Witherspoon remembers clearly her work ethic: She worked a side job after school.
“I could see a future for her,” Witherspoon said. “I could see her owning her own home.” Having a career. Her killing, he said, “was senseless. Irresponsible. And unforgivable.”
Powell and Davis were so close that she called him “Dad.” They often talked about life, and Powell would give her fatherly advice.
“I’ve lost a couple students,” Powell said. Renaissance Academy’s Anthony Grant, 17, was fatally shot in Baltimore three months ago. Seventeen-year-old Daniel Jackson, who attended the school before dropping out, was shot and killed in 2017 while standing on a porch. Ananias Jolley, 17, was fatally stabbed during a fight at the school in 2015.
“It hurts. Bad. especially this one,” Powell said. Davis “just wanted to be great. … She just lost her life for nothing. ”
Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement that Davis had participated in a crime prevention program sponsored by her office called Project17. She condemned Davis’ killing, as well as the death of Therone L. Jones, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident killed Saturday. Jones had been a part of an initiative called “Aim to B’More,” an alternative to incarceration for low-level drug offenders.
“It was apparent from my interactions with both of these young people that their futures were bright and full of promise,” Mosby said. “[W]e must continue to fight for our young people and tackle the senseless violence that claims so many precious lives in Baltimore.”