Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and community members at a walk held in Brooklyn on July 5, 2023.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and community members at a walk held in Brooklyn on July 5, 2023. Credit: J.J. McQueen / Baltimore City Government

Many Questions, Few Answers After Brooklyn Homes Shooting

On July 13, the Baltimore City Council’s Public Safety and Government Operations Committee held a hearing to learn more about what took place in the hours leading up to the July 2 mass shooting at Brooklyn Homes.

Eighteen-year-old Aaliyah Gonzalez and 20-year-old Kylis Fagbemi were killed and 28 people were wounded at a Brooklyn Day event that has been held every year for the past 27 years.

The tone of the hearing, which lasted about four hours, was stern — with city leaders pressing Acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley — as well as officials from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, and the Department of Transportation — for answers. 

In statements to the committee, Worley was clear that something went wrong — he said he just wasn’t sure what yet. 

“We received calls for various complaints throughout the day. There are multiple points at which the public was requesting assistance at which we should have had a broader understanding of what was happening on the ground, and we should have requested more resources for the Brooklyn Homes,” he said.

He told city leaders that police are working to investigate the incident, and were looking to produce a report in 45 days.

“They are currently reviewing body-worn camera footage, radio discussions, emails, text messages, and conducting in-person interviews to determine who knew what and when and what decisions were made or not made by whom,” he said.

City Council President Nick Mosby repeatedly pressed the issue of equity during the hearing. He said that he didn’t believe that wealthier, whiter sections of the city would have been ignored as Brooklyn residents asking for assistance were in this incident. 

“Why is policing in Baltimore always different depending on the socioeconomics of the community in which we’re policing?” Mosby asked.

“I don’t think it is,” Worley responded. He said that police in the city go where they are needed.

The police department argued that they couldn’t have known about the event because they often use social media to track large gatherings. As a result, some people “go underground” to hide this information.

Councilperson Phylicia Porter — who represents the 10th District, which includes Brooklyn Homes — pushed back against that claim.

“With regard to the social media intelligence, I just pulled up Brooklyn Day on my Instagram right now, and you’re telling me that we have an entire unit associated with this, and they weren’t — they didn’t pick that up?”

“Yes, ma’am. That’s one of the after-action things that we want to look at,” Worley responded.

During the part of the hearing reserved for public comment, Baltimore City NAACP President Kobi Little had stern words for Mayor Brandon Scott, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.

“I was very disappointed by your testimony, Madam CEO,” he said to Housing Authority President and CEO Janet Abrahams. 

“I did not hear any mea culpa. I did not hear any discussion of the many, many things that the Housing Authority could have done to be in touch with this community. I didn’t hear it said tonight, but there are over 150 people who are in arrears in their rent in Brooklyn to the tune of close to half a million dollars, and that’s been going on for, now, five years. And if anybody knows that information, I don’t know how they cannot know that there is a crisis waiting to happen in that community.”

Little also reminded the council that the NAACP has called for a national search for the city’s next police commissioner, along with a more inclusive nomination process. 

“We told you guys this incident was going to happen,” he said. “This is why you need community engagement on the front end.”

On July 17, Scott officially nominated Worley to be the city’s next police commissioner.

A second hearing about the deadly shooting is scheduled for September 13 at 1 p.m. at Baltimore City Hall.

Angel Reese Receives a key to the city

It can be scary to say what you mean and stand on it, but that’s what LSU Tigers basketball star and Baltimore native Angel Reese did in April when she faced public backlash following her team’s first NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship win. 

Some said Reese wasn’t being sufficiently humble in victory after she waved her hands in front of her face, mimicking a move that University of Iowa player Caitlin Clark had done earlier in the tournament. First Lady Jill Biden offered to host both teams at the White House,  and later backpedaled on the offer — but not before Reese rejected it, calling it “a joke.”

Since then, she’s been reaping the rewards of her hard work and her bravery with endorsement deals, a cameo in rappers Latto and Cardi B’s video for “Put It on Da Floor Again,” and more. On July 18, Mayor Brandon Scott presented Reese with a key to the city. 

“She is unapologetically passionate, unapologetically a Black woman, and isn’t afraid of a little competition,” Scott said at the City Hall ceremony. 

“I’ve been playing basketball for a really, really long time, and this moment right now is just for the girls that look up to me and being able to be unapologetically me,” Reese said. “Breaking the narrative of being able to be a Black woman in sports and being able to stand our ground.” 

“Hopefully, I can run it back next year,” she added.

The Saint Frances Academy graduate was also honored with a proclamation from the Baltimore City Council and, later that day, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Orioles game at Camden Yards.  

Reese is hosting a Back to School Giveback Block Party on August 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will be held at Saint Frances Academy, 501 East Chase Street, and will feature free school supplies, bounce houses, a live DJ, and more. For more information, email:

Lisa Snowden is Editor-in-Chief and cofounder of Baltimore Beat. Previously, she was an editor at Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore Sun, and The Real News Network. Her work has also appeared in Essence,...