Torched pharmacy that became symbol of Baltimore riots reopens

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 07, 2016 2:18 PM

By Donna Owens

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - A CVS Health Corp pharmacy in Baltimore has reopened nearly a year after images of it being torched last April made it a symbol of rioting that erupted over the death of a black man from injuries sustained while in police custody.

The drugstore on Pennsylvania Avenue in West Baltimore was rebuilt and opened its doors on Sunday, company officials said on Monday.

“We have a long history of serving inner city communities and we are 100 percent committed to serving our patients and customers in Baltimore,” said CVS spokeswoman Erin Britt.

The pharmacy became an emblem of unrest that tore through Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, 25, from a neck injury suffered in police custody.

Rioters looted the store and then set it ablaze. Television images and photos of the burning store were broadcast around the world. The area in front of the gutted pharmacy became a focal point for rallies and protests in the days following Gray's death.

The drugstore was among about 400 businesses across the city damaged in the rioting. A second CVS shuttered after the unrest reopened in late February after a renovation.

A 24-year-old man pleaded who pleaded guilty in connection with the pharmacy fire was sentenced in November to four years in federal prison.

Six police officers have been charged in Gray's death. His death was one of a series of incidents that sparked the movement Black Lives Matter and led to protests in many American cities over police treatment of minorities.

(Editing by Ian Simpson and Frances Kerry)