The faint cry came more than an hour into the investigation of Baltimore’s 76th homicide of the year.
“Did you hear that?” Baltimore homicide detective Lee Brandt said.
Brandt and fellow officers were painstakingly going over the scene where Ernest Edward Solomon III, 26, was gunned down on March 27. Solomon, who sold shoes out of his gold Volkswagen, was found lying on the ground near the locked car, the Washington Post reported.
Solomon was rushed to a local hospital and investigators were working the crime scene when Brandt heard the cry. He retrieved Solomon’s keys from another officer and unlocked the door of the car, which sat untouched as detectives awaited a tow truck to take it to a crime lab for processing.
Brandt bent over into the vehicle. When he stood up, he held in his arms a 10-month-old girl. A Baltimore Sun photographer captured an image of Brandt rescuing the child, his fellow officers staring, mouths open in shock.
No one had seen the child through the car’s heavily tinted windows, a detective told witnesses at the scene, according to the Sun. Officers believed that she was asleep before Brandt heard her cry.
The girl was cooled down with water and a wet cloth before paramedics took her to a hospital as a precaution, the Sun reported. She was later reunited with her family.
Baltimore police spokesman Donny Moses told the Sun that detectives followed protocol by not immediately searching the car, which could have held fingerprints or other physical evidence that could point to Solomon’s killer.
“Who would think that a baby would be in that car in the middle of a shooting scene?” Moses said.
In the weeks before his death, Solomon posted several status updates on his Facebook page that indicated his life was looking up. He talked about being grateful for his blessings and wanting the best for his daughter, whose name is Royal.
Just a week before his death, Solomon, who the Post reported had no criminal record, also talked about the murder rate in Baltimore.
No arrests have been made in Solomon’s slaying. Investigators released a grainy surveillance photo last month that they believe shows a “person of interest” in his death.
At the time of Solomon’s death, Baltimore’s rate of gun violence was up more than 40 percent over the rate for the same time period in 2016, the Sun reported. The city is struggling to recover from rioting that followed the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody.
The Post reported that, as of Friday, 124 people had been killed in Baltimore in 2017, 48 of them since Solomon’s slaying in late March. The homicide rate in Baltimore surpasses those of both New Orleans and Chicago, cities that have become national symbols of gun violence.
Brandt told the Post that he keeps a copy of the photo the Sun photographer took near as a reminder of a life saved.
“We couldn’t be there for her father, but we were there for her,” Brandt told the newspaper. “We got her safe. We got her taken care of. We had one tragic death versus two.”
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