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Baltimore Officer Shot, Ambushed In Targeted Attack After Volunteering To Work Overtime; Family Pleads For Justice

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Officer Keona Holley, a two-year veteran of the Baltimore Police force, is on life support after being ambushed inside her patrol car at 1:35 a.m. Thursday in South Baltimore's Curtis Bay neighborhood. Commissioner Michael Harrison said the shooter approached from the back of the vehicle and shot Officer Holley at least two times.

"The person who did this to my sister, you are a coward," said Officer Holley's sister, Lawanda Sykes. "…She is stronger than you will ever be, and the force behind her is stronger than you will ever be. You didn't take anything. You just made us realize how much she's needed, how much she's loved, how much she's appreciated. She left out of her house every day and dug her feet into the dirt to serve this city. She deserves better."

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren reports police recovered a vehicle they believe is connected to the crime and have interviewed several people. No arrests have been made. A reward for information leading to an arrest stands at $118,000.

"Keona was a hard-working mother… and like hard-working mothers do—especially around this time of year—she volunteered to work overtime last night in an area where we have been experiencing violence because she is a a public servant," Mayor Brandon Scott said.

Police canvassed the 4400-block of Pennington Avenue for clues Thursday afternoon. Harrison said Holley accelerated her vehicle after being shot and crashed into Curtis Bay Park.

"Understand my sister, she is the yin to my yang—all I've ever known. She's the other part of me. And I refuse to give that up. For anybody. Especially a city that does not appreciate her," Holley's sister said.

When Officer Holley was a trainee with the department in 2020, she spoke to Business Insider for a story about reforms in the Baltimore police force. "I feel like officers have a bad name and we have to change that," she said at the time.

"Our crime level is so high. The community needs Baltimore City police officers who are not here for a paycheck. They're here because they care," Holley said about why she joined the BPD.

Her sister said being an officer in Baltimore was a life-long dream for Holley. "My sister dedicated herself to this job. She went in early. She stayed late. She spent countless hours away from her children to serve her community in the Southern District. I am going to ask you if you have an honest, decent and empathetic bone in your body that you speak up and say something."

Doctor Thomas Scalea with Shock Trauma said Holley remains in intensive care and the path to recovery will be long. "We are bringing our A-game here. She is getting everything done that we possibly can do."

The FBI, ATF and Maryland State Police are assisting in the investigation.

Anyone with tips can call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-Lockup. You can remain anonymous.

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