Dante Barksdale, director of the Safe Streets program in Baltimore, has died after being shot on the head on Sunday while visiting a housing project.
Workers in the Safe Streets program aim to prevent the escalation of conflicts by mediating confrontations. The program also organizes education campaigns and collaborate with other organizations — but not with police — to help the youth steer clear of violence.
According to the New York Post, Barksdale, who is also an anti-gun violence activist, was visiting a local public housing project. There, a still-unidentified gunman shot him on the head.
Barksdale was immediately rushed to Johns Hopkins Hospital early Sunday morning. There, officials pronounced him dead.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Barksdale was in the same neighborhood a few weeks earlier. He had delivered winter coats to the families in the area that needed them.
According to a police spokesperson, an investigation into the incident is underway.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott released a statement regarding the matter. In it, he said that Barksdale served as the Safe Streets program’s “heart and soul” and that he was heartbroken by the news. Scott said the Safe Streets’ director’s passing is a huge loss to the program, the areas they serve, “and the entire city of Baltimore.”
James Timpson, a former Safe Streets program leader also remembered Barksdale. He said Barksdale dedicated his life to prevent such things from happening. He also mentioned that everyone is in disbelief that this happened.
Local police commissioner Michel Harrison also honored Barksdale, saying his work was essential in spreading hope and peace in the community.