A well-known Baltimore anti-gun violence activist passed away on Sunday after he was shot when visiting a public housing project. Dante Barksdale was shot at about 11:15 a.m. local time when visiting the Douglass Homes housing project. Known to many people as simply “Tater,” Barksdale built a reputation in the city for being an advocate of Baltimore’s violence prevention program known as Safe Streets.

Turning His Life Around

Barksdale spent the early part of his life in and out of jail. In a memoir that he penned in 2019, Barksdale recounted how he finally decided to clean up his life in 2008. He said that he was tired of being put in jail and always having to keep an eye out for the cops. In addition, he said he was inspired to get a steady job.

Barksdale said he was able to use his reputation as a street hustler to contribute to the mission of the Safe Streets program. He said that it was his understanding of life on the streets that was able to help him to form a key alliance with the Baltimore Police Department in order to contribute to the initiative of cleaning up gun violence from the streets.

Outpouring of Support

The untimely death of Barksdale prompted an outpouring of support from Baltimore’s key leaders. Mayor Brandon M. Scott issued a statement praising his friend for what he did for the city and for his work with Safe Streets. Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison offered the department’s condolences to Barksdale’s family while City Council President Nick J. Mosby added that Barksdale’s contributions helped to reduce violent crime in the city.