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'This Loss Is Ours As A City' Baltimore Hockey Team Mourns Two Young Members, Murdered In East Baltimore Shooting

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- In a wave of recent violence involving young people in Baltimore, 22-year-old Abe Luden and 20-year-old Davon 'Peanut' Barnes were shot to death on East Monument Street Sunday, according to Mark Conner who coached both young men through The Tender Bridge, a non-profit, and the Baltimore Banners hockey team.

"Peanut over the last few months was showing up on Monument, and we were concerned. We were concerned. The one thing that we can't provide our kids is a sanctuary—a 24/7 protective bubble. It pains us all to have lost both of these boys," Conner told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. He told Hellgren when he thinks of Peanut, he immediately remembers "a kid flying down the ice with a big smile on his face. He loved being part of our family, and he loved playing hockey."

A 15-year-old was also wounded in the shooting, which remains unsolved. It was one of several in East Baltimore in the past five days where bullets have struck victims as young as 12.

"For us, the mission is give these kids an opportunity to feel better about themselves. Take them off the streets for a few hours every Saturday and every Sunday and try to impart a better understanding of the world and what the possibilities might be," Conner said. "A number of kids would tell us they had friends who were shot and killed, but this is the first time it has directly affected any of our kids."

???? We are mourning the loss of two of our Banners players, Davon "Peanut" Barnes and Abraham "Abe" Luden, who tragically...

Posted by The Tender Bridge on Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Coach Conner worked with Peanut for a decade and with Abe for five years. He set up a GoFundMe that has raised more than $11,000 for the funerals. Any money left over will go to The Tender Bridge.

"We are surrogate parents in some respects so it is the same as losing your own child," Conner said.

Several parents in East Baltimore told WJZ this week that programs like this are needed -- that there is little for kids to do. "We need people to get involved as mentors," Conner told Hellgren.

The Tender Bridge has seen an outpouring of support and wants to make sure these young men are never forgotten.

"So many of the condolences start out with, 'We're sorry for your loss,' but this loss belongs to the whole city. This loss is ours as a city and all the people and all who live in it, and we need to begin to think about all these terrible things in just that way. It's affecting us as a family and as a community—the whole of the citizenry in Baltimore."

You can donate to The Tender Bridge and read more about the organization here: 

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