Smashed, looted and burned by the mob: Inside the destruction of Baltimore as shopkeepers tell how they fled burning shops and one says he called police 50 times – and nobody came
From The Daily Mail: The full extent of the damage done by the violence and rioting in Baltimore is graphically revealed today.
Dozens of shops, businesses and gas stations were burned and ransacked across the city as the streets were turned into a ‘war zone’.
Shopkeepers told Daily Mail Online that they fled in terror as looters rampaged in as they were still inside – and stole everything.
A family of four had to flee their apartment above the liquor store they owned when it was set ablaze underneath them.
And a gas station owner said that he had lost $50,000 after his ATM was looted and his store ransacked.
Rajneesh Nagpal, 39, was furious that he had called the police 50 times but nobody came to help him.
He said: ‘This is not protest. They’re destroying their own community. I don’t see any national guard. Nobody cares about us’.
The rioting started at the Mondawmin Mall in North West Baltimore on Monday hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died a week after he was arrested by the city police.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake today that rioters sought out ‘high-dollar’ items and that not every store was hit.
The unrest spread south along Pennsylvania Avenue and as night fell the looters marauded through the city with reports of a pawn shop ablaze in the South West of Baltimore.
Even the East of the city appears to have been affected and a five-story community center that was still under construction was set ablaze, though it is not clear if this was related to the riots.
At the Keystone Pharmacy on W North looters had gone through entire sacks of pill bottles and stripped all the shelves at the back of dozens of bottles of drugs.
Prescriptions lay scattered over the counter and the floor, showing off the names of the people who were supposed to come and pick them up.
Boxes were scattered everywhere and the looters had forced open the basement as they searched for more drugs.
Asked how he felt, Mr Kang, a Korean immigrant, paused and said: ‘Nothing. What can I say?
‘This shop is everything I have. I used to work at Johns Hopkins but I wanted to run my own business so I opened this store a year ago. – it’s my first business.
‘This is America. I wanted to follow my dream and wanted to make something for myself’.
Another convenience store owner, Rashad Kahn, 49, said that he had lost $25,000 worth of stock.
Standing in front of a sign saying: ‘We must stop killing each other’, he said: ‘I don’t know what to say’.
A toxic smell hung on the air at the CVS on W North and Pennsylvania, which was one of the first buildings set ablaze.
Looters had stolen everything – from cereal to cleaning products.
This morning metal bars and lighting cables dangled from the ceiling and the floor and the walls were stained black from the smoke.
Resident Laquicha Harper, who was cleaning the sidewalk with a brush, said that she had felt ‘compelled’ to come down and help clean up.
The 33-year-old, who runs a mobile beauty salon, said: ‘They didn’t just destroy a community, they destroyed our community.
‘Being a person of faith sometimes you have to get into the middle of the trench.
‘That’s what I’m doing, I’ve come down and I’m going to clean up my community. We will rebuild’.
Also among those sweeping up the streets was Husamiddin Osiruphuel, 61. He said: ‘This is our city. We live here. We go to school here, we work here. This was totally unnecessary. This wasn’t about people who cared about Baltimore. This was people who no meaning or purpose.’
His friend Hassan Amin, 62, said: ‘What you saw last night was a different city. This is the real city here today’.
At his Quest gas station Mr Nagpal said that as the riots raged last night, he walked up to the police seven blocks away and asked for help.
He said: ‘The lieutenant said they were busy but what were they doing? There was nobody to protect us. The rioters said they were guna burn this place down.
‘I’ve called 911 ten times since 6am. Nothing. I’ve lost $20,000 worth of stock and about $50,000 in total because they smashed the bulletproof glass – just because they wanted to grab cigarettes.
‘The mayor let people do what they wanted. We are a busy gas station and we are the neighborhood store. We try to help everyone out.
‘We’re going to talk to our community people and close down all the gas stations. The BP guy next door was told that he had to leave or they would kill him. He ran for his life.’
The gas station manager Andrea Allen, 50, added: ‘We couldn’t get police to come. They didn’t send any officers to help.
‘We stressed that it was a gas station and the rioters were here but they sent no help. Even the alarm system was on the phone to them but they didn’t come.
‘One guy who was rioting was saying: I’ve got a big load of medicine’ – he was bragging about the stuff he stole. I saw people speeding up the road to the mall to steal more stuff.
‘When they came to us they said: ‘You don’t sell no gas, we guna blow you up. What could we do?’