Baltimore officer dies a week after shot in ambush

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore police officer who was shot during an ambush last week died Thursday after being removed from life support, authorities said.

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Keona Holley, 39, a mother of four who joined the police department two years ago, was shot in the head while working an overtime shift early in the morning of Dec. 16, The Sun of Baltimore reported. Holley, who was sitting in her patrol car when she was shot, had been on life support at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, the newspaper reported.

In a statement, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the department was praying for Holley’s family and co-workers.

“We mourn Officer Holley’s death together and we will heal together,” Harrison said.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott also offered condolences.

“Baltimore will never forget Officer Holley’s sacrifice and commitment to making a difference in her beloved city,” Scott said in a statement.

Two men were arrested on Dec. 17 after police recovered a vehicle based on surveillance video, WJZ-TV reported.

They were identified as Eliot Knox, 31, and Travon Shaw, 32, the television station reported. Both men are being held without bail.

Knox and Shaw also face murder charges in the fatal shooting of Justin Johnson, 38, who died several hours after Holley was shot, according to WJZ.

But a motive remains unknown in Holley’s shooting, and police said an investigation is ongoing, The Sun reported.

“While we had extensive interviews, we don’t quite have motive. We don’t know why they did this,” Harrison said during a news conference last week. “We have absolute confessions that they did it, they were there. We don’t have motive as to why.”

At a news conference Thursday evening, Holley’s older sister, Lawanda Sykes, said her sibling was a dedicated worker.

“She took on this job, she took on this responsibility. This has been a life-long goal of my sister to serve the Baltimore City Police Department,” Sykes told reporters. “My sister dedicated herself to this job -- she went in early, she stayed late, she spent countless hours away from her children to serve the community in the Southern District.

“I’m going to ask you, if you have an honest, decent, empathetic bone in your body, that you speak up and say something. Come out and say something. The person who did this to my sister, you are a coward. You tried to snuff her and take something you can’t. She is stronger than you will ever be, and the force behind her is stronger than you will ever be.”

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