DaVonte Friedman, a teenager who visited Baltimore City Council last year to promote anti-violence initiatives and to increase youth job opportunities, was fatally shot in the city on Saturday evening.
The 18-year-old’s older brother, Tyrone Friedman, told local CBS WJZ-TV that his brother wanted to “see more done in the community.”
“He just turned 18 on the 26th of November – and died on [December] 1st,” Tyrone Friedman said. “He wanted to see more done in the community for himself and other kids like him.”
“I lost a piece of me,” he added.
The Baltimore Police Department told HuffPost via e-mail that it has not arrested any suspects and that the case has remained open as of Thursday evening.
On Saturday, the police department shared a media advisory on Facebook reporting a number of citywide shootings.
The advisory stated that in one district, officers found a 25-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. An 18-year-old and an “adult male” that were also found at the same location with gunshots wounds, were “pronounced deceased,” the release read.
Thinell Turner, Friedman’s mother, told The Baltimore Sun she is “proud” of her son for his efforts in advocating for young people.
“He knows the struggles youth go through,” she said. “He wanted [city leaders] to give youth a chance. I was very proud of him for the change he made.”
Friedman was involved with a local organization called Community Law In Action (CLIA), according to Raekwon Conaway, its program manager of leadership development and advocacy.
The 18-year-old participated in CLIA’s 2017 summer leadership institute, a six-week long “training intensive program” for high school students, Conaway told HuffPost.
The summer program is part of CLIA’s mission to help “develop young people to be leaders and advocates and to advance positive community change through public policy,” as its website states.
He told HuffPost that Friedman and a group of other students in the program had compiled research on ways to combat youth violence prior to their meeting in City Hall.
“Throughout the entire day, DaVonte was so nervous about the presentation, but when we got to City Hall, he knocked it out the park!” Conaway wrote on Facebook.
Conaway said that he was “really impressed” with Friedman after reading his definition of leadership – “to listen, to inspire and to empower” – in his application to join the 2017 summer program.
The CLIA program director told HuffPost that Friedman had shown “perseverance” in wanting to do better for himself.
“He recognized that though he did have some rough encounters in his past, he would not allow them to define who he was and what he wanted to do,” Conaway said.
“I really like to think that him making that personal decision, having the conviction to do that, speaks a lot about his perseverance and him wanting to do better for himself,” he added.
Cohen also shared his experience meeting Friedman when the 18-year-old visited City Hall last summer.
“On Saturday, DaVonte was shot and killed,” he wrote on Facebook. “We can’t do this anymore. There can’t be other DaVontes. We have to end the violence. DaVonte had a bright future ahead of him.”
The councilman noted in another post on Thursday that he plans to introduce a resolution in City Hall to support “a youth-led, year-round jobs program for our young people” in Friedman’s memory.
Conaway told HuffPost that it was important for him to share Friedman’s story considering the way black youth and black victims of violence are often covered in the media.
“There’s so much more behind him, his work that I thought needed to be shared,” he said.