BALTIMORE, MD – The hero officer who was shot in an ambush attack spent the last several days on life support while the family hoped and prayed that she would pull through.
Sadly, on December 23rd, two days before Christmas, the Baltimore Police Department reported she had passed.
Keona Holley, a Baltimore Police officer, has been taken off life support just a week after someone walked up to her patrol car and shot her. May she rest in peace. 🤍https://t.co/Y3MVjrWD99
— Complex (@Complex) December 25, 2021
Baltimore Police Officer Keona Holley was shot as she was sitting in her patrol vehicle in the early morning hours of December 16th while in Curtis Bay. Holley’s family made the painful decision to remove her from life support when it became clear that medical efforts would not be successful.
Democratic Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott spoke about the significant loss the city is feeling after Holley’s death. He said:
“Baltimore will never forget Officer Holley’s sacrifice and commitment to making a difference in her beloved city.
I ask that everyone please keep Officer Holley’s family in your prayers as they endure the holiday season without their mother, daughter, sister, and loyal friend.”
Residents in the area held a vigil for Holley on December 22nd, hoping and praying that God would perform a miracle and save her life. Residents spoke about the impact that Holley had on them and referred to her as the “mom from the west side.”
Holley led a life of public service as she was a nursing assistant for the Clifton T Perkins hospital prior to attending the law enforcement academy.
She worked there until she decided to attend the academy and become an officer to make a positive impact on her community.
Inside that black van is the body of Baltimore City Police Officer Keona Holley, who was ambushed & killed.
Holley was black.
Where is #BLM, Sharpton and the other race baiters?
It doesn’t fit their narrative and it doesn’t make them money.
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) December 25, 2021
Holley noted that her decision to become an officer later in a previous interview with the Baltimore Sun:
“I didn’t want to be a Baltimore police officer before. I feel like Baltimore City police officers have a bad name about themselves.
We have to change that and change it together. The community needs Baltimore City police officers that’s not just here for a paycheck. They’re here because they care.”
Holley clearly lived the example she thought should be set, that she cared for the community and was not just working to get a paycheck. Holley did this in many ways, including the night she was shot as she had been working overtime and was not scheduled to be working.
After news of Holley’s passing was made public, Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ordered the American flags at half-mast and posted condolences on Twitter:
“Our hearts are broken over the devastating loss of one of our true heroes. Please keep Officer Holley’s family in your prayers, as well as her brothers and sisters in @BaltimorePolice, and all those who put their live on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe.”
Our hearts are broken over the devastating loss of one of our true heroes.
Please keep Officer Holley’s family in your prayers, as well as her brothers and sisters in @BaltimorePolice, and all those who put their lives on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe. https://t.co/RWDYnMKNQa
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) December 23, 2021
The president of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of police, Mike Mancuso, noted that the entire agency is reeling over the loss of Holley. He said:
“Keona’s life had meaning and mattered to her family, her friends and her colleagues. As a police agency, we are suffering, and as individuals, we are crushed.”
Holley was in the Curtis Bay area when she was shot, and while police still have not released a possible motive, they were able to take two people into custody for the cowardly act within a few days of her being shot.
Elliott Knox and Travon Shaw were taken into custody and charged with attempted murder of a police officer as well as the murder of another man, Justin Johnson.
Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby promised that Holley’s murderers would be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law.” She also expressed her condolences to the family and friends of Holley by saying:
“As a mother, I extend my sincere condolences and prayers to Officer Holley’s four children, friends, colleagues, and family…Violence is always unacceptable, especially when the target is those who are committed to protecting this city.”
BALTIMORE, MD – In police-defunded Baltimore, two men have been arrested for the ambush shooting of an officer that left her on life support and the homicide of another man early Thursday.
Officer Keona Holley, a two-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, is on life support after being ambushed inside her patrol car at 1:35 a.m. Thursday in South Baltimore’s Curtis Bay neighborhood.
Commissioner Michael Harrison said the officer was shot when the gunmen approached the patrol car from the rear and fired into the car, striking Officer Holley at least twice.
Officer Holley’s sister, Lawanda Sykes, spoke out following the shooting:
“The person who did this to my sister, you are a coward. She is stronger than you will ever be, and the force behind her is stronger than you will ever be. You didn’t take anything.
You just made us realize how much she’s needed, how much she’s loved, how much she’s appreciated. She left out of her house every day and dug her feet into the dirt to serve this city. She deserves better.”
Now police believe they have the “cowards” in custody. Harrison identified the suspects as Elliot Knox, 31, and Travon Shaw, 32. Both are being charged with attempted murder in Holley’s shooting and with murder in the killing of Justin Johnson, 38.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called the shooting of Holly “brazen,” and said the violence against police must stop:
“These were brazen acts of violence, and it shows how far we have to go to show people and to make sure that folks understand that this cannot continue. You cannot snuff someone out for something so petty. You cannot think that our police officers should be a target for you.”
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who has been an advocate for judicial reform and has ordered her own office to stop prosecuting “minor crimes” like marijuana possession, said the shootings would not be tolerated:
“In this moment, I cannot overstate how angry and disheartened we all are that we continue to have those in our community who are intent on committing violent acts, especially against law enforcement officers. It is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it.”
Harrison said there was significant evidence linking the two men to the ambush of Officer Holley, including video and license plate reader data. The evidence allowed the Regional Auto Theft Task Force to locate a vehicle linked to the shooting.
Police first located Knox, who confessed to the shooting and pointed police to Shaw, according to media reports.
Harrison said the shooters knew Johnson, who was the father of three children, but said the victim may not have known the suspects:
“While we had extensive interviews, we don’t quite have motive. We don’t know why they did this. We have absolute confessions that they did it, they were there. We don’t have motive as to why.”
Police have not determined if the shooting of Johnson was in any way related to the shooting of Officer Holley.
Officer Holley had volunteered for the midnight shift when the shooting occurred. Shock Trauma’s Physician-in-Chief Dr. Thomas Scalea said Holley was “critically ill” and on “full life support” in t the intensive care unit. He said:
“These are injuries that are going to evolve over some time.”
Officers found Holley in her patrol car after it accelerated after she was shot and crashed into a park fence. A disgusting and depraved moment was caught on video posted on social media showing the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
The Instagram video shows Officer Holley’s patrol car crashed into the playground fence while two people shooting the video discuss whether or not they should help the officer. One person in the video said:
“Don’t call the police.”
A woman nearby tells the man:
“We can’t let them die.”
Council President Nick Mosby said he was angered by the ambush shooting and the video:
“There’s been a lot of divisive talk over the past several years around police, around connecting with our community, around violence. But tonight, this is reality. The reality is men and women do their best job to put on Baltimore Police Department uniforms and go to protect our citizens. … We should all take this very personally.
“I ask the citizens of Baltimore, if you do not have information [that could solve the case], to just pray.”
Senate President Bill Ferguson, who represents Curtis Bay, visited the Southern District police station Thursday morning to meet with officers in shock over the ambush of their fellow officer and mother of four. He said:
“It’s a level of depravity that just shakes us to our core. I hope it’s wake-up call that we are on a trajectory that does not work.
“Everyone has to put their ego aside, get around a table and say, ‘This cannot continue.’”
Officer Holley joined the police department in 2019, at the age of 37. During a 2020 interview with Insider, the young officer said she joined the department to improve police/community relations:
“I feel like Baltimore city police officers have a bad name about themselves. And we have to change that — and change it together.”
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