The Brutal Murder of Arnesha Bowers in Baltimore
What Happens To A Community When Heinous Murders Become A Weekly Occurence?
Arnesha Bowers was a beautiful, promising 16 year old Baltimore high school student. Martha Armenti, one of Bower’s former teachers described her as “effervescent,” “wise” and “enterprising.”, sharing stories of how Bowers carefully planned her retirement party just weeks ago. Escalating violence in Baltimore is taking an ongoing horrific toll on the city with numerous children being shot in past weeks recently culminating with the horrific torture and murder of Arnesha Bowers.
A Channel 13 news report stated that so far this year 22 children have been shot in Baltimore, an increase of 600% over the year 2014. The weekly news stories of children being shot are extremely unsettling on their own, yet the level of violence and moral corruption exhibited in the murder of Bowers has been rarely matched. The crime was so heinous, police and community leaders were committed to finding Bowers’ killers. And they did quickly. Two Bloods gang members, Adonay Dixon and John Childs were found and charged with first-degree murder in Bowers’ death. Suspect John Childs is said to have just been released from jail five days earlier for burglary.
Adonay Dixon (right) and John Childs (left) pictured below.
Dixon and Childs were acquaintances of Bowers. The night before the murder, the two men observed Bower’s grandmother picking her up from a party in a late-model car and believed the elder woman had valuables in her home. The pair then followed Bowers and her grandmother home. They returned the next day and broke into a basement window. When Arnesha Bowers was alerted to their presence, she was bound, gagged, raped and strangled with an extension cord. The pair then set her body alight.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts recently spoke on the escalating violence and how police were attempting to address the issue. Batts places partial blame on the increase in crime on 27 pharmacies being looted during the Baltimore protests and riots resulting in a flood of high level pharmaceuticals hitting the streets. This along with escalating gang turf battles has resulted in skyrocketing number of shootings and gun deaths with children being caught in the cross hairs.
The most immediate cause of this crime wave may be the Pharmacy lootings, yet it is the root cause of the violence that must ultimately be addressed. The large numbers of unemployed and under educated young men of color in urban cities are fueling these crime waves. These young men with idle minds and bodies with no means of financial support turn to prey on their neighbors and community members. Police said one of the reasons that Bowers and her grandmother were targeted is that the grandmother was known to have a job and therefore believed to have money that could be stolen.
Most often the black women who lose their lives amidst these tragedies receive little or no news coverage. D.C. reporter, Charnice Milton, 27 was used as a human shield and gunned down in the streets on her way from work just weeks ago. Sisters Anquonette Hale, 20 and Tahnaizja Smith 15, were killed in a double murder in St. Louis soon after the protests. Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody sparked a country wide outcry. Are we only concerned when blacks die at the hands of police? Or are we only concerned when they perish at the hands of whites? Huge numbers of heinous murders are occurring within our communities with no broad organized substantive action being taken to attack the root cause. Yet thousands of people mobilized to address police brutality which accounts for only a small percentage of violent deaths in the black community.
Bowers and her grandmother represent the foundation on which a neighborhood is built. An employed, hard-working elder and a studious, “enterprising” child. Once these community members are robbed, raped and set alight slowly their peers withdraw. If nothing is done about these crimes, other working and middle class blacks flee the area as well. and that is how a community dies.
These are not problems that can be remedied by the police. The rapidly dwindling Baltimore population can attest to that.