The Tragedy Of An Entire Baltimore Family’s Murder By Drug Dealers: Dawson Safe Haven Community Center Erected At Sight Of House Fire In Memory Of Slain Family

She wasn’t a typical Baltimore mother, passionate, tough, and a woman who cared about the community that her children were growing up in. Angela Dawson and her husband Carnell were raising 6 kids in a small neighborhood tucked away behind the infamous Greenmount Cemetery in a gritty section of East Baltimore, where the remains of John Wilkes Booth are interned, and one of many poor sections of the city known to residents as Oliver.

The landscape of the Dawson family’s home was no different from other parts of town, where urban blight was common place. Oliver and surrounding communities had boarded up houses that emerged during the onset of high drug traffic, homicides, and other violent crimes that has permeated the predominately African American community for decades. Like much of the city, Oliver’s abandoned housing problem left many streets with just a few residents still living on the block. The seemingly abandoned neighborhoods gave way to a proliferation of drug soliciting that brought addicts into the community, who descended on the neighborhood like the walking dead.

Drug dealers pounce on blocks that hold few residents, because the cops usually don’t patrol streets that have little to no activity. That’s when Angela Dawson took action and began a consistent campaign to rid her block of drug activity, so her kids could at least play on the streets and sidewalks near their own home. Her constant complaints to police resulted in conflicts with local dealers who used intimidation tactics in retaliation for disrupting their drug operations.

Baltimore Police say that Angela Dawson called the police to report drug activity on her block 109 times between 2000 and 2002, After Angela had repeatedly alerted police to drug dealing, assault, and other crime.  In retaliation for reporting crime to police the Dawsons endured repeated vandalism of their home, and then on October 3, 2002, an arsonist threw a molotov cocktail through a window of the Dawson home. A neighbor, Darrell L. Brooks was suspected of committing that crime, but despite the man (21) being on probation for car theft, reports indicate that the probation officer assigned to him never contacted him even when Brooks failed to contact his PO.

Just thirteen days later the convicted criminal kicked down the door of the Dawson home during the early morning hours while the family slept, doused the home with gasoline and set it ablaze. Carnell Dawson was able to jump out of a window to the house, but subccumbed to his injuries days later. Angela and five of her six children perished in the fire, creating outcry over the magnitude of the crime that was only matched by the frustration expressed by many residents who simply could not believe that city officials, who were aware of the escalating violence, had been unable to protect the family. While authorities were strongly criticized by the public over the killing of an entire family by drug dealers, City officials defended their actions, saying an offer to relocate the family was refused.

The charred home of the Dawson family after it was firebombed in retaliation for reporting crime to police…

Some community leaders argue that police and investigators often meet a wall of silence when crimes occur in the city, people are witnesses to shootings and killings, know exactly who did it, and want tell the police fearing the kind of retaliation that happened to the Dawson Family. However, leaders believe the city should have been more proactive in insuring the family’s safety. Angela Dawson was seen by many as an “anti drug crusader,” a trait rarely possessed by citizens living in Baltimore and other urban settings around the country, and many following this tragic story believe that the police should have protected the family, despite their unwillingness to relocate.

Now, it was more obvious than ever that the Dawson killings showed how far Baltimore’s drug rings would go to retaliate against someone who interfered with their operations. A street code of silence has always been the order of the day in Baltimore, and an immature DVD called “stop snitching” is the anthem used by criminals in the city that was produced by a Baltimore drug dealer. The culture of crime and violence has created a long lasting  and uneven cooperation between police and the citizens they are sworn to protect, and leaving a culture of fear within many communities while criminals operate with impunity.

After the Dawson murders the city and community leaders sought to redevelop the Oliver community, and spent a $1 million dollars to rebuild the structure that was once the Dawson Family home. Erected in its place out of tragedy rose something positive, The Dawson Safe Haven offers a program where kids, mostly from poor homes, could come after school for a snack, to play games, do home work, and other activities designed to protect the kids in Oliver, from the pervasive culture of drugs and violence. The program is a benchmark for the community, honoring the memory of a senseless tragedy while protecting young children, ironically in the same manner that Angela Dawson sought for her kids.

The Dawson Save Haven Community Center, erected on the site where a firebomb charred a home killing the entire family, in the Oliver section of East Baltimore…

While the charred smell from a burnt building no longer stings the air, echoes of the Dawson family attack still linger, as the Oliver Community and other sections of Baltimore City continue to struggle with the problems of drugs, and violence. Yet, the brazen and heartless nature of the crime that snuffed out the Dawson’s, is one of the saddest stories a city could ever tell. After rigorous efforts to rid her street with drugs and violence, constant dispute and retaliation from criminals, the story ends with Mrs. Dawson and five of her youngest children (ages 9-14), burning to death in an engulfed bedroom, and a young man from down the street in jail.

In Baltimore the Oliver Community is one of America’s most dangerous neighborhoods of one of America’s most violent cities. People are used to the makeshift memorials marking sidewalks where their sons and daughters fell. Gun violence as the result of drugs have emptied many bedrooms, but most can’t ever recall an entire household, with five children being wiped out at once.

Te neighborhood where the Dawson’s lived is known as the badlands. More than half of the row houses are boarded, and the streets are now held down by young teenagers in puffy coats watching over their shoulders as they move through the community. Despite the eerie feeling lingering around the block, that made the most hardened and tough men tear up after the Dawson family home was firebombed, there is still positive change that can be seen. Other city and state agencies have established programs in Oliver to combat the proliferation of drugs. Baltimore is the most violent of the nation’s 20 largest cities.

The city, which has made strides fighting crimes, has one of the largest per capita rates of intravenous drug use. Residents who remember Angela Dawson say she was a lively person and a great mother, who would often be seen playing ball in the streets with her boys, and shooing away drug dealers from around her children. People in Oliver say they will not be intimidated by what happened to the Dawson family, and police have vowed to crack down of offenders who intimidate citizens, but reality is different. Oliver remains a poor community struggling to emerge from its dark past, and using the Dawson safe Haven Center as a guiding light of hope. After 15 years, the bitterness and sadness is still felt within the community, when residents walk by, or dropped their children off at the center.

Not long ago the sounds of the Dawson children playing in the streets were echoed on the block. Today there are still sounds of children, but they’re kids safely snuggled inside a building and on the grounds where the previous occupants were martyrs, seemingly to save the lives of countless other children. There names are fresh in the minds of people who had kids that played with the Dawson kids, and while they are all gone now, they will forever be remembered by a community still struggling to exist. In their memory!

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Blogger David B. Adams

 

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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She wasn’t a typical Baltimore mother, passionate, tough, and a woman who cared about the community that her children were growing up in. Angela Dawson and her husband Carnell were raising 6 kids in a small neighborhood tucked away behind the infamous Greenmount Cemetery in a gritty section of East Baltimore, where the remains of John Wilkes Booth are interned, and one of many poor sections of the city known to residents as Oliver.

The landscape of the Dawson family’s home was no different from other parts of town, where urban blight was common place. Oliver and surrounding communities had boarded up houses that emerged during the onset of high drug traffic, homicides, and other violent crimes that has permeated the predominately African American community for decades. Like much of the city, Oliver’s abandoned housing problem left many streets with just a few residents still living on the block. The seemingly abandoned neighborhoods gave way to a proliferation of drug soliciting that brought addicts into the community, who descended on the neighborhood like the walking dead.

Drug dealers pounce on blocks that hold few residents, because the cops usually don’t patrol streets that have little to no activity. That’s when Angela Dawson took action and began a consistent campaign to rid her block of drug activity, so her kids could at least play on the streets and sidewalks near their own home. Her constant complaints to police resulted in conflicts with local dealers who used intimidation tactics in retaliation for disrupting their drug operations.

Baltimore Police say that Angela Dawson called the police to report drug activity on her block 109 times between 2000 and 2002, After Angela had repeatedly alerted police to drug dealing, assault, and other crime.  In retaliation for reporting crime to police the Dawsons endured repeated vandalism of their home, and then on October 3, 2002, an arsonist threw a molotov cocktail through a window of the Dawson home. A neighbor, Darrell L. Brooks was suspected of committing that crime, but despite the man (21) being on probation for car theft, reports indicate that the probation officer assigned to him never contacted him even when Brooks failed to contact his PO.

Just thirteen days later the convicted criminal kicked down the door of the Dawson home during the early morning hours while the family slept, doused the home with gasoline and set it ablaze. Carnell Dawson was able to jump out of a window to the house, but subccumbed to his injuries days later. Angela and five of her six children perished in the fire, creating outcry over the magnitude of the crime that was only matched by the frustration expressed by many residents who simply could not believe that city officials, who were aware of the escalating violence, had been unable to protect the family. While authorities were strongly criticized by the public over the killing of an entire family by drug dealers, City officials defended their actions, saying an offer to relocate the family was refused.

The charred home of the Dawson family after it was firebombed in retaliation for reporting crime to police…

Some community leaders argue that police and investigators often meet a wall of silence when crimes occur in the city, people are witnesses to shootings and killings, know exactly who did it, and want tell the police fearing the kind of retaliation that happened to the Dawson Family. However, leaders believe the city should have been more proactive in insuring the family’s safety. Angela Dawson was seen by many as an “anti drug crusader,” a trait rarely possessed by citizens living in Baltimore and other urban settings around the country, and many following this tragic story believe that the police should have protected the family, despite their unwillingness to relocate.

Now, it was more obvious than ever that the Dawson killings showed how far Baltimore’s drug rings would go to retaliate against someone who interfered with their operations. A street code of silence has always been the order of the day in Baltimore, and an immature DVD called “stop snitching” is the anthem used by criminals in the city that was produced by a Baltimore drug dealer. The culture of crime and violence has created a long lasting  and uneven cooperation between police and the citizens they are sworn to protect, and leaving a culture of fear within many communities while criminals operate with impunity.

After the Dawson murders the city and community leaders sought to redevelop the Oliver community, and spent a $1 million dollars to rebuild the structure that was once the Dawson Family home. Erected in its place out of tragedy rose something positive, The Dawson Safe Haven offers a program where kids, mostly from poor homes, could come after school for a snack, to play games, do home work, and other activities designed to protect the kids in Oliver, from the pervasive culture of drugs and violence. The program is a benchmark for the community, honoring the memory of a senseless tragedy while protecting young children, ironically in the same manner that Angela Dawson sought for her kids.

The Dawson Save Haven Community Center, erected on the site where a firebomb charred a home killing the entire family, in the Oliver section of East Baltimore…

While the charred smell from a burnt building no longer stings the air, echoes of the Dawson family attack still linger, as the Oliver Community and other sections of Baltimore City continue to struggle with the problems of drugs, and violence. Yet, the brazen and heartless nature of the crime that snuffed out the Dawson’s, is one of the saddest stories a city could ever tell. After rigorous efforts to rid her street with drugs and violence, constant dispute and retaliation from criminals, the story ends with Mrs. Dawson and five of her youngest children (ages 9-14), burning to death in an engulfed bedroom, and a young man from down the street in jail.

In Baltimore the Oliver Community is one of America’s most dangerous neighborhoods of one of America’s most violent cities. People are used to the makeshift memorials marking sidewalks where their sons and daughters fell. Gun violence as the result of drugs have emptied many bedrooms, but most can’t ever recall an entire household, with five children being wiped out at once.

Te neighborhood where the Dawson’s lived is known as the badlands. More than half of the row houses are boarded, and the streets are now held down by young teenagers in puffy coats watching over their shoulders as they move through the community. Despite the eerie feeling lingering around the block, that made the most hardened and tough men tear up after the Dawson family home was firebombed, there is still positive change that can be seen. Other city and state agencies have established programs in Oliver to combat the proliferation of drugs. Baltimore is the most violent of the nation’s 20 largest cities.

The city, which has made strides fighting crimes, has one of the largest per capita rates of intravenous drug use. Residents who remember Angela Dawson say she was a lively person and a great mother, who would often be seen playing ball in the streets with her boys, and shooing away drug dealers from around her children. People in Oliver say they will not be intimidated by what happened to the Dawson family, and police have vowed to crack down of offenders who intimidate citizens, but reality is different. Oliver remains a poor community struggling to emerge from its dark past, and using the Dawson safe Haven Center as a guiding light of hope. After 15 years, the bitterness and sadness is still felt within the community, when residents walk by, or dropped their children off at the center.

Not long ago the sounds of the Dawson children playing in the streets were echoed on the block. Today there are still sounds of children, but they’re kids safely snuggled inside a building and on the grounds where the previous occupants were martyrs, seemingly to save the lives of countless other children. There names are fresh in the minds of people who had kids that played with the Dawson kids, and while they are all gone now, they will forever be remembered by a community still struggling to exist. In their memory!

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Blogger David B. Adams

 

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus

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