BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dante Barksdale, an activist, a leader and a man with a heart for the greater good, has fallen victim to gun violence.
There is still no word from police on who took the life of the community activist, but city leaders took Monday to remember him and challenged everyone to carry on his legacy. A $7,000 reward is out for information leading to the arrest of Barksdale’s killer.
Help us Identify and Arrest Donte Barksdale’s killer https://t.co/NcfDdjuOiI pic.twitter.com/VY3snhIFKr
— Baltimore Police (@BaltimorePolice) January 18, 2021
“Someone who dedicated himself to ending the violence in Baltimore was ultimately killed by it,” said City Councilman Zeke Cohen.
Dante Barksdale was the face of Safe Streets, a program aimed at preventing violence and changing the way communities view criminal activities that may have been normalized over time.
Sunday night, police said Barksdale was shot in the head near Douglass Homes. Cohen spoke to members of Safe Streets to find out what happened.
“He was there to mediate a conflict, to do what he so often did, yet my understanding is that he took a bullet not meant for him,” Cohen said.
A picture posted by Dante Barksdale shows some of the work being done by @SafeStreetsBalt . Now the community is mourning the loss of his life @wjz pic.twitter.com/Q2ZgIA4pmf
— Rachael Cardin (@RachaelCardin) January 18, 2021
His mission in life was to stop the senseless killing. This is a message Barksdale shared on Instagram the day after Christmas.
“Murder and mayhem shouldn’t be the way we continue to resolve our problems,” he said.
Ten years ago, current City Council President Nick Mosby met Barksdale at a recreation center.
“I walked these streets with him,” Mosby said.
Then, “Safe Streets” was just an idea. Barksdale made it a reality.
“Forgiveness is key bro, you have to forgive people. If we start to forgive ,we can start to heal bro, and it’s the only way we can stop some of this violence,” Barksdale said in a video on Instagram.
“For him to wind up a victim to the same senseless violence, you can’t paint a more tragic picture,” Mosby said.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott and countless others have shared their condolences on social media. Many are saying Dante was a light in the darkness and we must keep his legacy alive.
“My hope is that we as a city come together and truly do the work he was doing of curing violence of healing from trauma,” Cohen said.
The community remembered Barksdale with a virtual vigil Monday evening.
Scott said the family will announce plans for a community-wide vigil in Barksdale’s memory.
Community leaders reached out throughout Sunday to remember him and all the work he did for the city.
Monday night, City Hall was bathed in orange light in his memory.
City Hall is lit orange in honor of Dante Tater Barksdale and the critical work @SafeStreetsBalt does each and every day. We will not allow the light of a man who saved thousands of lives in our city to be dampened. pic.twitter.com/gSY8CeVk7l
— Brandon M. Scott (@MayorBMScott) January 19, 2021
Anyone with information can call 1-866-7LOCKUP or submit it to the web and the tip must go to Metro Crime Stoppers.