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Loved Ones Remember Pregnant Woman Murdered In East Baltimore; Baby In Critical Condition

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore police canvassed East Baltimore's Barclay neighborhood Friday, a day after a pregnant woman, 38-year-old Angel Smith, was gunned down outside her home on E. 23rd Street along with her fiancé.

Smith and an unidentified man were found shot inside a car in the 300 block of East 23rd Street shortly after 8 p.m. by officers called to a shooting in the area, Baltimore Police said. Both were taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment.

The man was pronounced dead on arrival. Smith too was pronounced dead shortly after giving birth to a newborn girl, who is listed in critical condition, police said.

"My heart is broken. It feels like my soul has left my body," Smith's childhood friend Christian, who declined to give her last name out of safety concerns, told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.  "You don't know you're going to get gunned down to go in your home—your safe place where you go to be peaceful. This is the type of city we live in."

Christian in an emotional interview told Hellgren that Smith was a "phenomenal mother." 

She said Smith was shot multiple times and was seven months pregnant. She managed to deliver a baby girl who remains in critical condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

"She did not deserve that," Christian said. "She was strong enough to deliver a baby. That was God. That was nothing but God. We are mourning. We are mourning. That was a pregnant woman in a car. She was pregnant, and they didn't care."

Police are searching for two suspects who opened fire on the couple as they sat in their car. Authorities have not formally identified the fiancé. Christian said they also have a one-year-old daughter together. 

"We don't see nothing but killing, killing, killing," Christian said. "This was the last straw that broke the camel's back and they took her."

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison on Thursday night said the couple, whose loved ones said they were engaged, had just pulled into a parking spot when a vehicle pulled up and someone inside opened fire.

The police commissioner and Mayor Brandon Scott implored any witnesses to the shooting to come forward and share what they know with investigators. Scott did not mince words about the couple's murders.

"I could sit here tonight and I can tell you a whole bunch of things, but what we really need to focus on is the fact that something caused this to happen, and to be quite honest and frank, I don't really give a [expletive] what the conflict was," Scott said. "We cannot have folks shooting at pregnant women in our city."

The fiancé's family also spoke to WJZ, also not revealing last names out of safety concerns. 

Minnie, a cousin, urged people to come forward. 

"We're sick of the killing," she said. "We're sick of anyone just going around killing anyone they want to. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of Baltimore City having so many killings being number one or number two in the worst crimes. I'm over it."

"Angel, she was in the process of bringing another child into our family," Smith's fiance's cousin, Minnie, told WJZ. "I lost my cousin."

Minnie described her cousin, whose identity has yet to be released, as a "very loving" man.

"He trusted God. He knew God. With God right now, he's with God right now," she said.

Another cousin, Kelly, told WJZ that the couple's newborn girl is fighting for her life.

"If you didn't even know if she was pregnant or no, I want you to realize you just hurt a child of God," she said. "You do not mess with God's children. I promise you, it's not going to stop. You're going to be judged."

Like Kelly, Minnie had words for her cousin's killer or killers. "God will judge you for what you've done, and there's no hiding from it. We will find out who are you," she vowed.

The pair appealed to the public for help tracking down the suspects involved.

"Anyone who can give us answers, anyone, just speak up," she said. "We're sick of the killing. We're sick of anyone just going around killing anyone they want to."

"All I can say is, whoever did it, you will be found out. Whoever did this, you're going to pay for this," Kelly added.

The violence in the past 24 hours has been relentless and includes the shootings of two teenagers and an elderly man.

The elderly man was shot in Southeast Baltimore's troubled Carrollton Ridge neighborhood where police found a body in a vacant home earlier in the day. 

Police said the man shot Friday night was 79 years old, although neighbors tell Hellgren he was in his 80s.

"I ducked behind the truck and held my head," Donna Taylor told Hellgren. 

Donna said she knew the victim and spoke to him afterward. 

"The angels were around him. He said if he didn't fall, he would have got shot up," Taylor said. "He was shaken up. He was scared. He said they got him in the leg."

Taylor spoke to WJZ last month for a special project mapping crime in the city. She recounted how she tried to help her neighbor Charles Rheubottom after he was shot in March. He later died. 

"Tell the mayor his crime plan is not working!" she said after the latest shooting.

In the same neighborhood, police have yet to make an arrest in the killing of Miguel Diaz, found shot to death inside a burning house on Furrow Street Sunday.

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