Updated at 7:30 p.m.
The epidemic of gun violence on Baltimore’s Westside continued today with four dead and nine shot since 11 p.m. Friday, including an unidentified female, according to police reports.
Altogether, there were 11 shootings and five homicides across the city over a 16-hour stretch between late Friday and 3 p.m. today, police reported.
The spasm of violence began when the normally quiet Saint Joseph neighborhood in West Baltimore was riven by gunfire shortly after 11 p.m. Friday.
Responding officers found an adult male at Baltimore and Hilton streets suffering from at least one gunshot wound to his torso. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:37 p.m. Police later determined that the shooting took place on nearby Benkert Avenue.
Moments later, three adult males were found on the 1900 block of Wilhelm Street, in Carrollton Ridge, with gunshot wounds to their head or neck. Transported to a local hospital, one of the victims died at 12:20 a.m. The other two are listed in critical condition.
At about 5:40 this morning, Western District police found a man shot in the leg and thigh on Edmondson and Fulton avenues in Harlem Park. He was transported to a hospital where police found two other men seeking treatment for gunshot wounds from the same encounter. All three men are reported in stable condition.
At 9:06 this morning, police responded to a call of a person found lying in the alley behind Augusta Avenue in Irvington, just 10 blocks west of the earlier shooting on Benkert Avenue. The unidentified male was pronounced dead on the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.
Shooting in Clifton Park
This was followed by the death of an unidentified adult female on the 2000 block of Hollins Street in West Baltimore, found by police at 1:33 p.m. suffering from a gunshot wound to her waist. She later died at an area hospital.
Less than an hour later, police responded to a call of a shooting on the 2800 block of St. Lo Drive in Clifton Park. An adult male had a gunshot wound to his chest and was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Then shortly before 3 p.m. today, police responded to the 11th shooting since last night – an adult male wounded in the leg on the 3200 block of East Northern Parkway in Woodring.
Command Changes and a Media Statement
The latest round of deaths bring the number of homicides so far this year to 105 – more than 40% above last year’s total at this time – and puts renewed pressure on Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts to tackle the surge in gun violence that has taken place following the April 27 Baltimore riots.
Yesterday, in an internal memo, Batts confirmed that he will be placing the Western District under the command of Capt. Sheree Briscoe and transfer the incumbent commander, Maj. Donald Bauer III, to the homicide section.
Lt. Rob Jackson will become the acting captain of the district, which experienced 25 shootings and six homicides between April 19 and May 16, and 10 more shootings and two more homicides since then. (See our shootings in Baltimore special report.)
Also yesterday, the police media relations office issued a statement from Batts that concluded:
“We understand fully the concern over the recent violence. Nothing is more important than the sanctity of human life. The conversations about numbers and reform miss an important point. We are talking about real people. We are talking about real families. We are talking about the real future of our city.
“We will shoulder the hard work that is before us. That is our solemn duty and sacred oath. It is the mantle we picked up in 2012 [Batts was appointed police commissioner in September 2011] and one that we carry today. Real change is taking place. Real reform is underway. We are moving towards a new future.
“The Baltimore Police Department is made up of many of strong character and ‘can do’ heroes. I have faith they will show how strong their characters are and how they respond to adversity. They will show how they grow and change making everyone proud as they shame the naysayers. The future is ours to make.”