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‘We had 15 short years with him’: Family mourns teen fatally shot Saturday in Milford Mill
Baltimore Sun - 1/24/2023
When dozens of relatives gathered Monday night to mourn Lamar Leslie-Allen at his great-grandmother’s home, it was the kind of party the 15-year-old would have loved.
“He would be in heaven with all the family here,” his great-grandmother Carolyn Allen said. “And he would be cleaning dishes.”
Baltimore County Police say the teen was shot after 9 p.m. Saturday in Shadwell Court in Milford Mill. He was taken to Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead after 1 a.m. Sunday, family members said. Police released his name Monday.
His family said the 10th grader was a math whiz who loved playing basketball and swimming in his backyard pool.
“He could put numbers together like no other,” his mother, Tiona Allen, said. On the weekends, Lamar was an usher at Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ, his great-grandmother said. He dreamed of one day becoming an entrepreneur and running his own trucking company.
Previously a student at New Town High School, Lamar was in the process of transferring to Catonsville Center for Alternative Studies because of its smaller size, his family said. On Sunday, John Klug, principal of the Catonsville school, wrote in a letter to students that the administration was “absolutely devastated” by the loss of the 10th grade student.
His mother described her only child as a loving teenager with a big, supportive family. “My son was that guy, charismatic. His smile brightened up the room,” she said.
His aunt Kim Allen-Hubbard called him a good-natured kid. “He was a blessing,” she said.
His relatives said that most of all they wanted people to know that their son, nephew and great-grandchild was deeply loved.
“We only had 15 short years with him,” his aunt Ashley Allen said. “It was not enough.”
Being separated from the teenager in his final moments weighed on his family, who described waiting at Sinai Hospital for hours as doctors treated Lamar’s injuries.
“For him to die scared, that happens too much in this city,” his great-grandmother said.
His mother and other relatives were frustrated by their experience at Sinai Hospital, where they said they waited for hours without an update from medical staff until they were told Lamar had died. His aunt Valarie Hurt, a former operating room assistant at Sinai, said the lack of communication from doctors and nurses didn’t reflect the protocols she had observed while working at the hospital. “We were treated so bad,” she said. “No one came down to give us an update.”
Sharon Boston, director of public relations for LifeBridge Health, said in a statement that Sinai Hospital prefers that physicians in trauma cases speak directly with families to give accurate and up-to-date information about patients. “Those physicians are focused on caring for trauma patients, including going with them to surgery, as needed,” Boston said in the statement. “We are sorry for any additional stress a delay in communication may have caused the Allen family and we send our sympathies in the loss of this young man.”
A tight-knit group of Lamar’s cousins talked over one another Monday night as they remembered him helping with homework, playing tag and initiating adventures that sometimes got them into trouble.
Khy’Ree Jones and Tristin Felix viewed their older cousin like a big brother, someone they looked up to and followed everywhere.
Another cousin, Brinley Hubbard, described Lamar as a protector who rode bikes with her. “He didn’t let nobody try to play with me,” she said. “Nobody tried to mess with me.”
Jayda Johnson and Demi Allen recalled with excitement how their older cousin had once tossed them into the pool. “With our pajamas on!” they exclaimed in unison Monday night. They showed off a framed photo of Lamar as a kindergartner grinning in his green graduation robe.
When the 6-year-old and 7-year-old were younger, Lamar rescued them from drowning, Jayda’s mother, Ashley Allen, said. “The water was his love,” Lamar’s mother Tiona Allen said.
Since Sunday, a constant stream of relatives, friends and cousins have packed the home of his great-grandmother Carolyn Allen, bringing with them food and condolences.
“We want justice for Lamar,” his great-grandmother said. “We can’t bring him back, but we want whoever did this to pay for what they did.”
Baltimore County Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call 410-307-2020.
Late January is already a heavy time for the family. Monday marked the 28th anniversary of the death of Lamar’s great-uncle, Micheal Allen, 19, the son of his great-grandmother, Carolyn Allen.
As she spent Jan. 23 grieving the loss of a second young relative lost too soon, Lamar’s great-grandmother said it felt like the violence had no end.
“The violence keeps going on, it keeps going on with our young kids,” she said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Belson contributed to this article.
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