BALTIMORE (AP) — Since he was a child, Pedro Chesley had imagined himself as a soldier.
At an early age, his family instilled in him the importance of education and striving for better, relatives said. He graduated from Lake Clifton High School, enrolled at Morgan State University and joined the U.S. Army.
It was at Lake Clifton that he met Diamond Davis, who was a year ahead of him. The sweethearts attended junior and senior proms together. They loved to take selfies and laugh, family members recalled, and they remained a couple after school.
Chesley, 20, and Davis, 21, were fatally gunned down the evening of Nov. 21 in the neighborhood of Edmondson Village. An unidentified woman was injured in the shooting as well.
Chesley’s family and Army Reserve colleagues are struggling to piece together why he died the way he did. The Baltimore Sun was unable to reach Davis’ family.
Baltimore Police have not identified a motive or suspect in the shooting.
As a little boy, Chesley would sport camouflage shirts and other military-style clothing, recalled his cousin Nikki Atkins, her mother, Barbara Carter, and father, Lenny Carter.
“His primary interest was the military. He loved serving his country, and he put nothing before that,” Barbara Carter said. “All of his effort and passion went into being successful in the military. He just wanted to make it a career, a military career.”
Chesley grew up as an only child in the Northwest Community Action neighborhood of West Baltimore, his family said. Oftentimes, he would visit his aunt’s home in Virginia and stay with her during weekends.
His energy revolved around joining the Army and spending time with Davis, relatives recalled.
At Lake Clifton, Chesley joined the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and met Davis. The two planned to be together for the long haul, according to Chesley’s family. Atkins said she had most recently spoken with Davis’ mother Nov. 22.
“They were always picture-taking. They were high school sweethearts. That was his heart,” Atkins said.
After he graduated with honors in 2017, he attended Morgan State on a scholarship. He joined its Army ROTC program, where he focused on transportation, his father, Gregory Chesley, told The Sun.
Chesley left college in 2019.
But he had joined the Army Reserve in 2018 as a movement specialist, according to Capt. Brandon Wilson, commanding officer of the 430th Inland Cargo Transfer Co. Chesley would track the movement of cargo in and out of deployment sites.
Based between Baltimore and Glen Burnie, Chesley would go to training once a month; every three months, he would go on field assignment, Gregory Chesley said.
Chesley was awarded the Army Service Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal the year he joined. He was promoted to the rank of specialist in March 2019, Wilson said.
“He did exactly what his aspirations were until he was killed,” Atkins said of her cousin.
Wilson remembers Chesley as bringing “positivity” and “honesty” to the unit. Fellow members were shocked and dismayed by Chesley’s slaying.
“He was always just smiling. He was somebody who filled the room with light,” Wilson recalled.
The unit posted about Chesley’s death on its Facebook page, decrying that he was “unnecessarily shot and killed.”
A military memorial service will be held Saturday, according to the post.
“We are definitely shocked and surprised. There are a lot of mixed emotions right now among the entire team and unit,” Wilson said.
During the evening of the incident, Southwest District officers had been dispatched to the 700 block of Linnard St. in West Baltimore’s Edmondson Village neighborhood to investigate a reported shooting. There, officers found Chesley, Davis, and an unidentified female suffering from gunshot wounds, police said.
Davis was pronounced dead on the scene while Chesley and the other victim were taken to local hospitals. Chesley was later pronounced dead by medical personnel, according to police.
The Baltimore Police Department has not identified a motive or suspect, and has not released the incident report in the shooting despite repeated requests from The Sun.
Police urge anyone with information to contact Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7 LOCKUP.
A total of 91 people the ages of 18 to 25 have been killed in Baltimore City this year, the highest among any age demographic in the city.