Driver killed at NSA remembered as friendly, troubled loner

Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) — The driver killed in a violent confrontation at a National Security Agency gate was a transgender sex worker in Baltimore, according to those who knew her, and she was remembered Wednesday as a friendly but troubled loner.

Ricky Shawatza Hall, 27, was killed Monday when NSA police opened fire on a stolen car that then crashed into a police vehicle. A passenger and an officer were wounded.

Kayla Brooks, who works at a transgender outreach program in Baltimore, said Hall went by the name Mya, and that she last saw her on Sunday. Brooks says Hall "seemed high and was looking for a date" while walking up and down a Baltimore strip known as a hotspot for sex work.

"She was nice and friendly," Brooks said of Hall, "but very troubled."

Court documents show that Hall had a history of theft and assault. In 2013, she was charged with assaulting a woman and stealing a bottle of methadone from her pocket. Hall wore a yellow dress at the time of the assault, the documents show. In 2014, Hall was charged with robbery after stealing a vest and skirt from a Baltimore clothing store.

Hall also was charged with assault in February of 2014 while at central booking in Baltimore after she grabbed a broom handle from a supply closet and smashed a window with it. Documents show that Hall ran out of her cell after another inmate attacked her. Hall was being held in a men's unit of the jail.

Anthony Guillaume, an attorney who represented Hall on that assault charge, said his client was always professional and appreciative. But Guillaume also described Hall as troubled and said she kept to herself.

"She was a very nice person. She was professional and grateful and always upbeat when I dealt with her. She was thankful for the help I was able to give her," Guillaume said. "But I could tell she was troubled and had problems in her past life. I got the sense that she was a loner — I'd ask her if she wanted me to call anyone, family or friends, but she always came to court alone."

On Monday, police determined that Hall and her passenger were driving the SUV of a 60-year-old Baltimore man, who told investigators he had picked up the two strangers in Baltimore and brought them to a Howard County motel.

Howard County Police spokeswoman, Mary Phelan, said the driver did not tell police why they made the roughly 10-mile drive to the Terrace Motel.

The man told police they checked into a room about 7:30 a.m., and that he used the bathroom about an hour later. When he came out, they were gone, along with his car keys, Phelan said.

Police said they could not confirm whether drugs, alcohol, or sex were part of the roughly one-hour stay.

Just before 9 a.m. and minutes after the man called to report the stolen car, Hall and her passenger took a highway exit that leads directly to a restricted area at the NSA entrance at Fort Meade.

Hall did not obey a guard's instructions for leaving the campus, said spokesman Jonathan Freed. Instead, the SUV sped up and headed toward an NSA police car blocking the road, Freed said in a statement.

"NSA Police fired at the vehicle when it refused to stop," Freed said, after which the SUV crashed into the police car.


Associated Press Writer Ben Nuckols in Washington contributed to this report.

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