As Angela Dawson's relatives prepared yesterday for the funeral for her and five of her children, more tragic news came: Her husband, the only survivor of the firebombing at the family's Baltimore rowhouse last week, had died from severe burns.
Nursing coordinator Susan Lurz said that Carnell Dawson Sr., 43, died yesterday afternoon at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he had been in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns over half his body.
Police have charged a 21-year-old neighbor, Darrell L. Brooks, with six counts of murder and arson in the firebombing, which they believe was vengeance for the family's ongoing effort to rid their block of drug dealing. Brooks now faces additional charges in the seventh death, officials said.
Dawson jumped from the upper floors of the three-story rowhouse in the early darkness of Oct. 16. Hours later, firefighters brought out the bodies of his 36-year-old wife, her 14-year-old daughter, LaWanda Ortiz; her 12-year-old son, Juan Ortiz; their 10-year-old son, Carnell Dawson Jr.; and the Dawson twins, Keith and Kevin, 9.
They will be remembered together this morning in a service at Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries in Baltimore.
Even in a decaying neighborhood that has seen more than its share of death, the huge toll in one family provoked widespread grieving and anger. Hundreds rallied Sunday at the home's blackened ruins on East Preston Street for more police protection of their neighborhood. Mayor Martin O'Malley called the violence "one of the most barbaric acts in our city's recent history."
"It's horrible. It's an entire family wiped out," said Rob English, an organizer with Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, a church-based community group that organized the rally.