After teen allegedly killed Pasadena landscaper in street rage capturing, household struggles with mindless loss – Capital Gazette

Daniel Pitts hardly ever strayed from his each day routine, which revolved across the landscaping enterprise he constructed greater than 20 years in the past.

He would get up, dress and climb into his pickup truck with an inventory of jobs to finish. In the evenings, he would do paperwork, retaining meticulous handwritten information of his enterprise bills, invoices and schedule.

On April 14, Pitts had picked up an worker and was driving by way of Curtis Bay round lunchtime. As standard, his truck was loaded with instruments and tools.

The precise particulars are unclear, however Baltimore Police stated a suspected street rage incident escalated shortly and left Pitts, 52, lifeless from a gunshot wound. The capturing occurred within the 6200 block of Pennington Avenue, a distant strip close to the doorway of petroleum tank farm in Hawkins Point, simply south of Curtis Bay.

“To just shoot somebody like that over something so stupid — I mean how does that happen?” his sister Lisa Pitts Wheeler stated in a latest interview. “I guess I just haven’t been able to comprehend it all.”

A teenager was arrested two weeks later. The 17-year-old was charged as an grownup with first-degree homicide and different counts.

Detectives interviewed witnesses who recognized him from a photograph lineup and described how he pulled out a handgun and fired a single spherical, court docket information present.

The case provides to an uptick in violence and rising concern amongst consultants in Baltimore and throughout the nation that extra minor disputes are ending in lethal gunfire, typically throughout daylight.

That consists of street rage. Nationwide, knowledge counsel street rage shootings have elevated considerably in the course of the pandemic, leaving 522 folks killed or injured final yr — in contrast with 293 folks in 2019, in response to a latest report from Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun management advocacy group.

Road rage incidents involving a gun even have grow to be extra lethal, the report says. In 2016, about 34% of such incidents resulted in accidents or dying; that quantity rose to 62% final yr. The research is predicated on knowledge compiled by the Kentucky nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which publishes nationwide gun knowledge from regulation enforcement, media experiences and different sources.

So far this yr, 43 folks have been killed and dozens extra injured in shootings that regulation enforcement attributed to street rage nationwide, in response to the database. Researchers have recorded 23 street rage shootings since Pitts was killed final month, together with two separate incidents that occurred simply days aside in Durham, North Carolina.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison additionally has expressed concern about youth crime, particularly main as much as summer time trip.

“We know that addressing youthful mischief, disorder and violence is bigger than just the police department,” he stated in a latest assertion. “We are asking for parents, community organizations, juvenile advocates and social services agencies to get involved to prevent these types of destructive behaviors and violence in our city.”

Pitts’ sister stated she just lately spoke with the person driving within the passenger seat when her brother was shot. He informed her that Pitts had pulled out of a gasoline station car parking zone onto Pennington Avenue and observed a automotive developing behind him, then tried to change lanes and inadvertently minimize off the opposite driver.

The shooter pulled up alongside their truck and fired one spherical by way of the window — a single bullet that whizzed previous the passenger and struck Pitts within the head, Wheeler stated the person informed her.

The passenger needed to attain over and take management of the car earlier than it crashed, in response to his account.

“I feel like there’s more to the story,” Wheeler stated. “I need more answers, but they won’t bring my brother back.”

Baltimore police stated officers responded to the capturing scene and located Pitts in his grey Ford F-150. Medics pronounced him lifeless shortly thereafter.

Later that afternoon, Wheeler stated, native regulation enforcement officers arrived at her home in Florida and delivered the information about her brother.

“I’m like no, there’s no way. Not Danny,” she stated. “I was just standing there in my front yard getting this news.”

Wheeler just lately spent eight days in Anne Arundel County laying her brother to relaxation and sorting by way of his belongings. She donated his garments and turned his truck over to the state, not desirous to see no matter indicators of his dying had been preserved inside.

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In his workplace, she discovered in depth handwritten information monitoring his enterprise bills, together with copies of invoices noting how lengthy he had labored with sure clients — like “16-year client” or “21-year client,” Wheeler stated.

“He was very detailed, very consistent, a hard worker,” she stated.

Wheeler stated she tried to get Pitts to return keep together with her household in Florida after his roommate of 33 years died in latest months, however he didn’t wish to take the break day work.

Decades in the past, Pitts labored as a pizza supply driver whereas launching his landscaping enterprise, his sister stated. He graduated from Chesapeake High School in Pasadena.

Wheeler organized a celebration of his life at a restaurant close to the place they grew up. She stated a few of his outdated classmates confirmed up, together with folks she had by no means met, and the group shared tales about Pitts.

After holding the memorial and receiving information in regards to the latest arrest, Wheeler stated, she’s now left with a profound sense of injustice she fears won’t ever depart her. She finds herself excited about her grandchildren, questioning what this implies in regards to the world they’re rising up in. She stated she hopes her brother’s killer realizes the ache he triggered.

“It does ease my mind that this person is off the streets,” she stated. “I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I feel so lost right now. … I can’t just wake up one day and accept it.”

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