Sitting on the back porch of his Southwest Baltimore home Sunday night, Richard Tarbert heard the loud gunshots — 10 of them, he counted. His instincts told him to run toward them.
That's because his 15-year-old son, Anthony, had been out with friends and hadn't yet come home. When Tarbert rounded the corner, he found one of his son's friends lying in the street suffering from gunshot wounds.
But where was Anthony?
After six hours of searching, Tarbert noticed familiar white Nike sneakers in a neighbor's backyard. Anthony was lying between a rock and an air-conditioning unit, with a gunshot wound to his stomach.
"He was already gone," Tarbert, 57, said. "I cried and I held him, and I told him that I was sorry that I couldn't find him [in time]. I looked for him for six hours. That's my son, and I wasn't going to give up."
Anthony Tarbert and his best friend, 15-year-old Dominic Perry, were both killed Sunday night in the 1100 block of Wedgewood Road. About 9:15 p.m., police say, an unknown person approached and fired several shots at them. Investigators did not disclose any suspects or motives, though witnesses say there may have been an altercation earlier in the evening.
Police said both boys had no contacts with police and "appear to be good kids."
Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III met with the families Monday afternoon, said spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. "We're pleading with anyone who might have seen or heard anything to contact detectives," the spokesman said.
The shootings were the second in the past two weeks in this community, in the West Hills neighborhood near Woodlawn, not known for gun violence. And by what appears to be pure coincidence, Anthony has a connection to both incidents.
On July 19, a police officer was shot in the 1100 block of Cooks Lane, a block away from Wedgewood, by a man with a rifle. The officer was narrowly spared serious injury when the bullet struck his service weapon, though bullet fragments caused minor injuries.
As the officer awaited medical attention, Anthony Tarbert stayed with him to offer comfort, which Gulgielmi called "heroic."
The officer "was by himself," the shirtless teen told television reporters at the time. "He was on the ground giving up, ain't nobody talking to him. … I just told him to keep his eyes open."
Police say they do not have any reason to believe the incidents are connected. The suspect in the shooting of the officer, 20-year-old Chey Jordan, is being held without bail while awaiting trial on charges of attempted first-degree murder. A witness said that for months, Jordan, who was enlisted in the Army, had talked about "shooting someone," according to court records.
On Monday morning, family and friends streamed to the rear of the Tarbert home to offer condolences. Anthony was white and Dominic was black, and friends were of both races. Richard Tarbert said that though the neighborhood is almost entirely black, Anthony was affectionately known in the community as "white boy" and had no problem fitting in.
"We're getting a lot of love from the neighborhood," Richard Tarbert said. "We're one big family out here."
Relatives of Dominic Perry could not immediately be reached for comment. A memorial page on Facebook was created Monday by friends, which read, "Dominic was the funniest, and the coolest[;] he was everything to everybody … nobody really had a beef with him."
"I guess God said it was time for him to come home or the devil was riding his back," it reads.
Anthony Tarbert liked playing video games and basketball with neighborhood boys. He attended Woodlawn High School, where he was to enter the 10th grade this fall.
"He was at the wrong place at the wrong time," said cousin Brandon Boyd, 22.