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African-American Syracuse officials seek public's help in young man's murder

Tom Magnarelli
Family and friends of Rasheada Caldwell and her son Rasheed Baker gather in Clinton Square.

The family of a recent homicide victim in Syracuse is pleading with the public for help in solving the young man’s murder. It comes at a time when violence tends to increase each year.

Rasheada Caldwell, the mother of Rasheed Baker, 21, who was shot and killed earlier this week, called her son an awesome kid who loved everyone. He was a former all-CNY high school football player, who then went on to Onondaga Community College.

“Anyone knows anything about what happened to my son, my only son, please call," Caldwell said. "We need justice; we need that person caught, inside a jail. Please.” 

The African-American community in Syracuse, including city officials like Common Councilor Helen Hudson, stood behind Caldwell to demand anyone with information come forward as police continue to investigate who killed Baker.

“We’re going to push you out," Hudson said. "You’re not going to continue to keep murdering in this city and we’re going to keep closing a blind eye. You’re no longer going to continue to murder our children and think that it’s okay. We’re done. This is a community that is suffering and we’ve suffered through years and years of these homicides. Enough, we’re not accepting it anymore.”

Hudson said people can come to her or Parks and Recreation Commissioner Lazarus Sims or Sharon Owens with the Southwest Community Center if they are too afraid to give information to police.

"It takes more effort to not do something, to stand still and watch, because you know the right thing to do is to step forward," Sims said.

And Owens said someone knows something.

“To me, the murderer is reprehensible, but the person who knows and does nothing is worse,” Owens said.

Officials with the Syracuse Police Department say crimes tend to increase in the city during the summer but there is good news. Fewer people have been shot in Syracuse this year compared to 2016. And the number of homicides is down significantly from this time last year.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.