By Justin Fenton
BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police Officer Keona Holley was taken off life support after days of “deteriorating” health, a week after being shot in an ambush while sitting in her patrol car, the police department said Thursday.
Holley, a 39-year-old mother of four who joined the police department two years ago to make a difference, was shot in the head while working overtime in the early morning of December 16 in Curtis Bay. She was on life support at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
The Baltimore Police Department said in a press release late Thursday that her family, in consultation with doctors, had made “the most difficult decision” to remove her from life support.
Commissioner Michael Harrison said his prayers are with Holley’s family and colleagues, adding that he thanked her and the entire policing community for their “commitment, service and sacrifice”.
The police have accused two men in the shootingas well as with a second murder, of Justin Johnson, 38, which took place about 90 minutes later in southwest Baltimore. One of the suspects, Elliott Knox, reportedly confessed to detectives that he was present and told police where to find the weapons used.
But a motive remains unknown and the police investigation continues.
Knox said Johnson was killed because he owed money to Travon Shaw, who Knox said carried out both shootings. But detectives wrote in the charging documents that casings from two different types of firearms were used and that Curtis Bay surveillance video showed the two men approaching the area where Holley was shot. . At least seven people have been killed in Baltimore since Holley and Johnson were shot.
Harrison said Holley was “where she was supposed to be, doing what she was supposed to do”.
“I know Constable Holley didn’t deserve this,” Mayor Brandon Scott said last week.
The police department said in a statement that free, confidential counseling services are available to employees and asked those who wish to make a contribution to Holley’s family to visit. signal13foundation.org and specify his family by writing “In support of Officer Holley”.
Holley’s sister, Lawanda Sykes, spoke to reporters outside of Shock Trauma last week, saying her sister is loved and works hard for the city.
“She left that house every day and dug her feet into the dirt to serve this city,” Sykes said.
Holley had previously worked at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, a state mental institution; friends said she was a nursing assistant, while state health officials said she had a security job. Holley was interviewed by the Insider website as she went through the police academy in 2020, and explained why she wanted to be a police officer later in life.
“Before, I didn’t want to be a policeman in Baltimore. I feel like the Baltimore City police have a bad reputation,” Holley said. “We have to change that, and change it together. The community needs Baltimore City Police officers who aren’t just there for a paycheck. They are here because they care.
Last Christmas, Holley posted a video on Facebook where she and her fellow officers handed out Christmas presents to a family on the porch. It seems to be organized by a handful of officers.
“One of my favorite sergeants felt compelled to buy these three beautiful little girls for Christmas, and the officers donated,” she wrote in December last year. The girls had “enduring something they will probably never forget”.