The Baltimore Sun traces how Davon Qualls, 17, came to be killed on a Baltimore street after his great aunt Eliza Jennings, pleaded for the juvenile justice system to find mental health care for him. Jennings wrote in April to Baltimore’s top prosecutor about the boy, but courts inexplicably sent him to live with people who apparently were not related to him. Court officials pleaded a lack of resources.
After he was arrested, Jennings asked juvenile judges and case workers to place him in a locked treatment facility. Instead he was released, first to a woman who didn’t know the teen’s real name, then to a 26-year-old man he called his “home boy,” Jennings said. Both times, Davon was sent to an area near which he ended up being shot in the head. Davon is one of 20 Baltimore youths age 17 and under to be killed so far this year. Twenty-eight were killed last year, all but a handful in street shootings. Hundreds more teenagers are caught up in the city’s adult and juvenile courts, accused of crimes such as murder and burglary – the last charge against Davon before he was killed.