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Neighbors: Long Reach Teen’s Stabbing Death is ‘Heartbreaking’

“He didn’t even get to see his 18th birthday.”

Residents at the Sierra Woods apartments in Long Reach were reeling with grief and shock Thursday, following the stabbing death of their neighbor, 17-year-old Christian Lendell Hall.

Hall was stabbed multiple times while in his home on the 8700 block of Airybrink Lane at about 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to Howard County Police.

Long Reach High School junior Xavier Trevon Bates, 18, of 9089 Lambskin Lane in Columbia, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree assault, in the stabbing, according to a press release.

Police said they believed Hall and Bates were involved in a fight earlier Wednesday, and that Bates had come to Hall’s home to fight him again, forcing himself into Hall’s apartment, where he stabbed Hall several times before fleeing on his bicycle.

Howard County police said the fight was not gang or drug-related.

Hall had attended Reservoir High School until March of 2009, according to school officials, before transferring to New Visions Academy in Baltimore - a private school for "male students who have been unable to succeed in the public school system," according to the school website.

Christiana Minor, 15, says she was among those who saw Hall taken away in an ambulance Wednesday night.

“I feel really bad,” she said. “I cried last night. It was heartbreaking.”

Agnes Chery, 17, also from Long Reach, said she was troubled by the violence.

“You think you’re safe in your house,” she said. “He was [my] same age. He didn’t even get to see his 18th birthday.”

Nana Opoku, 22, a resident in the Sierra Woods neighborhood, was also shocked by the news. 

“I am surprised--Wow,” he said. “I don’t know who would do something like that.”

Earlier, Opoku said he thought the neighborhood had cleaned up.

In 2010, the Howard County Police department had 1,629 “quality of life” calls for service for the Long Reach Village, including 106 calls reporting assault and 18 calls reporting robberies, according to unofficial crime analysis data.

On Thursday afternoon, the Long Reach apartment community where Hall lived was bustling with teens hanging out during summer break and parents rushing to work or taking their children to day care.

One teen, whose mother requested his name not be used, said Hall’s death ricocheted across Facebook Wednesday night. It wasn't long before word reached other communities, like Hall's church.

According to the assistant pastor at St. John Baptist Church, Hall was in the church’s Man-to-Man mentoring program, which matches at-risk students with mentors as role models.

“It’s to help young people in single-parent homes to have another voice to give them positive support - to help our children realize the wonderful potential that’s in them,” said the Rev. Ostein B. Truitt, of the church.

Truitt said she spoke to Carolyn Gayle, the mentoring program’s coordinator Thursday, who said that Hall, who had been in the program since 7th grade, was “bright” and “creative, but had his struggles.”

Gayle was unavailable for comment Thursday.

“He really began to find himself through drama and directing,” said Truitt, relaying her conversation with Gayle. “The mentees did a public service announcement, and he was in charge of directing people and getting people on point.”

Efforts to reach Hall’s family were unsuccessful Thursday.

Ryan July 29, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Shocking?
wendy morone July 29, 2011 at 06:31 PM
I teach in the city and live in the Columbia. Problems everywhere. When will kids learn that fighting solves nothing and is NOT the norm in a civil society. Parents who fight and scream are setting their kids up for sad consequences. The proper upbringing of kids needs to become a national focus. Even at the CA pools this summer i have noticed an increase in screaming, fighting, cursing, and parents either ignoring kid's bad behavior or simply screaming at their kids. This is not parenting.
wendy morone July 30, 2011 at 12:57 AM
I was not inferring that the child who died was not raised properly. I was referring to the shooter.The shooter clearly has no idea how a civil society functions.
VINCE WILLIAMS July 30, 2011 at 01:06 AM
MAYBE THERE WERE OTHER PROBLEMS THAT WE DONT KNOW ABOUT. ITS A SHAME THAT THIS HAPPENED. NOW 2 LIVES ARE GONE..
wendy morone July 30, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Vince, There are always problems. Everwhere. It is all about we handle those problems and how we teach young people to handle problems. The death rate from knives and guns is unacceptable and need not be a part of anyone's life! Anyone can change or help someone else change.Making excuses will never save a life.nor will memorials of flowers ans stuffed animals. Learning to resolve conflict and live civily will change the world.
Shawna July 31, 2011 at 04:54 AM
How dare you post that ignorant comment Brook Hubbard! My family used to live near that area,my children even knew this child! Yes, he was a very troubled child. No, he did not have the best examples or role models set for him. However, why on EARTH would you EVER think it's ok to talk about something so STUPID on a post about a child's death! Do you believe that because this family lived in poverty, that it was OK for their child to be stabbed to death!!!!???????????? You ought to burn in hell!
Brook Hubbard August 01, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Who said anything about a child's death being OK? It's a horrible tragedy that should never have happened. You're the one reading things into my comment just because you don't want to hear what I have to say. I ought to burn in Hell? How very Christian of you. We cannot ignore the fact that crime has increased exponentially in neighborhoods that support housing assistance, such as Orchard Crossing, Kings Crossing, and Sierra Woods. We may not be as bad as Baltimore or P.G. County, but we are headed that way. You want to stop these horrible things from happening? Then remove the source.
Andrew Kanicki August 01, 2011 at 06:23 PM
I agree somewhat with Brook. Clearly, there is a need for affordable housing in Howard County, however, more must be done to screen potential tennants.
Keisha August 01, 2011 at 07:53 PM
I agree with Brook as well. I used to live in Columbia when it was a semi-nice place to live. Now it is downright dangerous. I agree that crime is everywhere and that not every low income family is bad news. However, as soon as Howard County started allowing section 8 into my complex, the crime got out of control. Coincidence? Doubtful!
Chris August 08, 2011 at 11:36 PM
I was just wondering.....what do you think would happen if... the parents who received Section 8 funds were told they would loose the housing funds if one of their children were arrested and/or convicted of a crime. Why should the public have to subsidize their housing AND pay to house the inmate? D you think the parents of those children who commit these acts would be more willing to supervise their own? Again, I was just wondering.......
D.M. September 13, 2011 at 05:14 PM
I have lived in Long Reach for ten years, as a young single mother raising two children and buying my home which happens to be near Sierra Woods. I have NEVER had a problem with crime in or around my neighborhood. So where are you guys getting your stats? I live here and yes i was shocked that a kid my children went to school with and conversated with and hung out at football games with would do such a thing. A kid that when he saw me in the grocery store would say "Hi, Ms. Karen, how are you?" He always showed me the utmost respect, b/c I demanded it. But no these things don't happen on a regular in Long Reach, stop trying to paint a bad picture. My neighborhood is quiet. The parents in my community don't allow our children to just Hang Out on the corners doing nothing. We as parents together recognize that we have to keep them busy, give them something constructive to do. I pray for the families of both young men and for people to expand their range of thinking, this has nothing to do with section 8. This has to do with people making better choices.
tenam September 18, 2011 at 04:03 AM
I personally think that's a great idea! Not all people in section 8 housing are criminals and this gives those people the opportunity to make a better life for themselves while creating a deterrence for people who might possibly create trouble.

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