Local with Baltimore ties distraught over riots

Paducah locals who used to call Baltimore home are shocked to see the streets they knew in the news.

There’s a Google map of the Baltimore riots with pins — a crowd-sourced effort manually pulled from police scanners, social media, and other reports — marking fire, looting, and places where police responded.

As the riots escalated, a lot of people took to social media using the hashtag #BaltimoreRiots. Tweets earlier today showed a lot of people volunteering to clean up the city. But in the days before, when the riots were escalating, tweets called for protesting in solidarity with Freddie Gray and showed child protesters in Baltimore. It’s the pictures and posts on social media that locals who used to call Baltimore home say broke their hearts.

Matt Schaade, who lived in Baltimore for a number of years before moving to Paducah, said he was shocked when he first found out about the riots. “It’s a beautiful city, but when its on fire,” Schaade says.

Schaade says there’s reason to the riots, but to see his city as one of the casualties of the message is what’s upsetting. He says he was first concerned for his friends he knew in the area, knowing there were innocent people trying to live and work in the city. He even recognized old walking paths and neighborhoods where he would spend his time when looking at coverage of the events.  

“The scariest thing about it is looking through the pictures that pop up,” Schaade says.

One of Schaade’s first calls was to a friend, Pat Klein, who said he could see the flames lighting up the sky from his home in Baltimore. 

“You could see this construction site burning like a gigantic blaze. The smoke just covered the sky all over,” Klein says.

Klein says he’s lucky to have avoided most of the riots. He says his workplace even asked him to work from home today as a safety precaution. 

Klein and Schaade are just hoping for a peaceful end, 

“Just trying to keep it under control as much as possible, but it got pretty scary, that’s for sure,” Klein says. 

McCracken County law enforcement say they are aware of the threat, and what’s going on in Baltimore. They’re asking their officers to be alert, as always.

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