PASADENA, Md. — After she heard of two Anne Arundel County police shot and injured in a daylong manhunt, a Chesapeake Bay Middle School seventh grader went to the bathroom and cried. Then she decided to do something.
Faith Botti, a 12-year-old from Pasadena, wanted to express her gratitude to the officers, so she wrote a letter.
“I hope you feel better. I know you are probably in pain so I am writing this letter to hopefully get your mind off the pain,” Faith read from the two letters she wrote to the injured officers.
Faith wrote to Detective William Ballard and Detective Ian Preece, the officers who police said were shot by a suspect later identified as Joseph Robert Mitchell Willis. Willis was a person of interest in a Glen Burnie homicide that was discovered Wednesday afternoon, and he attempted to evade police before his capture. The 22-year-old Pasadena resident has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder for one of the shootings. Police said other charges would follow.
On Thursday, Faith found out about the shootings and went up to her student resource officer to learn more.
“She came to me and said ‘Officer Titus you look a little down today,’” Cpl. Fred Titus said. “Faith was one of the few people who wanted updates and asked how they were doing.”
When she went home that day, she wrote letters front to back and even included illustrations and coloring to go along with it to “hopefully make them happy and put a smile on their face,” she said. On Friday morning, she approached Titus again to ask that he give her letters to the officers.
He initially thought it was a get-well card, but when he opened it, the gesture moved him.
“This is so well done for a little girl like her,” he said. “I appreciate someone, even at her age, recognizing what police officers do. She recognizes that police officers have a dangerous job and she is thankful.”
Before the school staff held their administration meeting Friday morning, Titus shared the letters. Chesapeake Bay Middle Principal Michael Dunn thought Faith’s gesture was sweet and touching. He also said the letters were well-written.
“She put a lot of thought and effort into this,” Dunn said. “Kids really do look up to (police officers) and admire what they do for society, and that was what she was trying to express.”
Police officers are kind and helpful at school and if something is wrong, they are the people to go to, Faith said.
“They make us safe and happy and make sure we are good,” she said.
In her letters, Faith let the detectives know that “bad guys” would not apologize for the way they treated the police, but she would.
Whenever she bumps into someone, she apologizes hundreds of times, so she questioned how people can hurt others and “live with themselves," she said.
Her efforts were also seen by Anne Arundel police Chief Timothy Altomare. He held up both letters during a press conference to provide more information on the investigation and to thank residents like Faith.
“The first one I want to talk about is to Ms. Faith...we got your letter and we feel the same way about you and we will keep working hard to keep you safe. Your letters are going to go to the two detectives in a little bit," Altomare said at a press conference Friday while holding up the two letters.
The letters have been given to a family friend and should be delivered to the detectives by this weekend, Titus said.