BALTIMORE — Authorities in Baltimore allege a man embroiled in separate custody battles with two women gunned them both down Saturday — while filming himself on Facebook Live — before turning his gun on himself.
Rajaee Shareef Black’s young daughters were in his parked BMW X3 at the time of the second shooting, Howard County police officials said. The children, ages 4 and 5, were unharmed, and they did not witness the murder-suicide, which took place at the Columbia apartment complex of their mother, Wendy Natalie Black.
Rajaee Black, 44, of Hanover, killed his ex-wife, 42, and himself inside the vestibule of Wendy Black’s apartment building, a police spokeswoman said. Both were found dead by officers who responded just after 2 p.m. to a 911 call about shots fired.
The murder-suicide occurred about 35 minutes after Baltimore officers were dispatched to the Federal Hill home of Tara Labang, who has been identified as Rajaee Black’s former girlfriend. The officers, who were responding to an alarm, found the back door of the home kicked in, Baltimore police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a news conference.
Labang, 41, was found dead inside. A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, told the Baltimore Sun that her doorbell camera picked up the sound of six gunshots.
The Blacks and Labang all worked in healthcare as nurse anesthetists.
While at the scene, Baltimore officers learned of a social media post in which Rajaee Black described his intent to drive to Columbia and kill his former wife, Harrison said. According to the Sun, the officers contacted Howard County police officials around 2:22 p.m. about the video, but it was already too late.
In the video, which was reposted multiple times on social media, Rajaee Black is standing outside Wendy Black’s building at the Madison at Eden Brook. As he speaks about the custody battle over their children, he alleges that Wendy Black accused him of molesting their daughters.
“I’ve been fighting for custody for three years,” Black says into the camera. “(Expletive) has been real crazy.”
As he continues, he talks about meeting someone new, presumably Labang, who he says got pregnant. He then describes the aftermath of a fight.
“The first thing she does is threaten that she’s going to do the same thing. ‘You never going to see your kids, blah, blah, blah,’” Black says. “It’s the holidays, man. I don’t have no family. Nothing.”
It is unclear when that alleged argument took place or if Labang was planning court action against Rajaee Black.
Then comes Black’s confession.
“Anyway, I just did something crazy, man,” Black says. “I just shot my ex-girlfriend in the head. Felt like a dream.”
“I never thought I would be that guy,” Black says as he appears to walk near a building. “I can’t go to prison, so the person that really started my depression and all of this is my ex-wife. So, she next. Then I’m going to do myself too.”
The gunman offers the people watching his video some advice.
“I just want to say this to people. Don’t play with people’s emotions, man,” he says as he looks around at his surroundings. “Don’t lie on these men.”
A moment later, he appears to spot Wendy Black as she opens the door to the building.
“Oh, here’s my ex-wife right here,” Black says almost cheerfully, panning the camera toward the entrance, where someone can be seen inside.
The camera shakes as Black heads toward the door.
Just before the video cuts off, Black can be heard telling his ex-wife, “Today’s the day.”
Watch the video below. Editor’s note: The footage contains some explicit language.
“This is a horrible tragedy,” Harrison said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of these victims.”
WBAL-TV reported that Howard County court records document the custody battle over the Blacks’ two daughters, which involved near-constant court filings over a four-year span. According to Fox Baltimore, more than 3,600 documents had been filed over custody of the children.
In his most recent filing four days before the homicides, Rajaee Black accused his ex-wife of not complying with a court-ordered custody exchange.
He also accused her of hiding her address, keeping their children from him and trying to hit him with her car.
Watch Baltimore police Commissioner Michael Harrison and Mayor Brandon Scott speak below.
Wendy Black’s court filings, however, painted her former husband as a “violent, unstable (man) determined to kill her.” She said he abused drugs and alcohol, had access to weapons and had threatened to kill her and their children.
“I am terrified because I do not know what he is capable of doing to me and the girls,” she wrote, according to the news station. “I do not feel we are safe. I do not feel safe at all.”
At least three different people had sought restraining orders against Rajaee Black in the past, the documents show. Wendy Black sought multiple petitions seeking help, but all of her petitions for protective orders were apparently denied.
Michael Eisenberg, a neighbor of Wendy Black’s, told WBAL-TV about finding the couple’s two daughters inside Rajaee Black’s car after the shooting.
“I could see one little girl in there crying,” Eisenberg said. “I tried speaking to her. I don’t think she could hear me that well. I peeked in again and saw the second girl in there, and I was trying to calm them down.”
Howard County authorities said both girls have been placed in a safe location.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
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