Fifteen-year-old Deshaun Jones had spent much of the summer hanging out in the neighborhood where he died last weekend, gunned down as he sat on a porch just before his first day at Frederick Douglass High School.
The teen was among seven people shot in a single incident Saturday in Franklin Square. On Monday, when he was to have begun his freshman year, red, white and blue balloons were left at the shooting scene, along with a stuffed toy animal. The other victims — all adults — are expected to survive.
Jones was an aspiring rapper who went by the name Lor D'Shaun. "His biggest dream was to make it. To move out of this 'hood," said his mother, Shanika Harris.
In one song, he says, "At a young age you turn into a man out here/Cuz these n----s on the street don't play out here."
In another track, he sounds a combative message. He waves around a gun in a video called "Bodie 'Em" and taunts his rivals. "Run up on them with that Ruger/they don't even know who did it/hit the target, hit the witness/I ain't trying see the prisons."
Harris said her son had never been violent, but he wrote about a subject that hit close to home.
"It was like re-enacting life, what he saw in the neighborhood," she said of her son's lyrics.
She said Jones planned to take music and video production classes when he got to Douglass, as well as play football and basketball. Over the summer, when he wasn't working on music, he would play basketball at the Boys & Girls Club, she said.
Sharnetta Roscoe said Jones was a friend of her son's and often would spend the night at her house, near where he was shot in the 1500 block of W. Fayette St. She was nearby at the time of the shooting, and said Jones had been rapping on a top step before he was hit.
"We heard gunshots and everyone ran to safety," Roscoe said.
The shooting was the latest in what Commissioner Anthony W. Batts has called "cluster" shootings, where multiple victims are left injured. In an interview with WJZ-TV on Monday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called the culprit in Saturday's shooting an "idiot coward."
Police have not announced any arrests in the incident.
Police said there have been 287 nonfatal shootings this year, up from 237 at this time last year — a 21 percent increase. So far, 150 homicides have been reported, which is 10 more than at this time last year and a 7 percent increase.
Batts has said hundreds of officers were deployed in the neighborhood where the shooting took place Saturday night, though many of them were dealing with a nearby block party at the time.
The gunfire broke out after a conflict over a dice game, police said.
Roscoe said she thinks Jones was trying to hop off the top step when the shots went off.
She said many people had been outside and ran around the corner toward Baltimore Street when they heard gunfire. When she returned, other residents pointed to where Jones was lying and told her he had been shot.
"That night, it was so nice outside. Everyone knew they had to get their kids out before school," Roscoe said.
A close friend of the family, Carla White, was across the street when the shooting happened. She said residents no longer feel safe outside. "You got to be ready to get up and run."
In addition to Jones, police identified another shooting victim on Monday. Brandon Darrell Thompson, 27, of the 4500 block of Fairfax Ave. was shot and killed Sunday in 4000 block of Norfolk Ave. A third man, age 21, was killed in the 3100 block of Brendan Ave. on Friday night, police reported.
The shootings continued Monday when a woman was shot in the left cheek in the 4700 block of Greenspring Ave. in Northwest Baltimore. She is expected to survive.
Another man was shot in the leg in the 300 block of McMechen St. in the Madison Parkl neighborhood about 6:30 p.m. Monday, police said.
Baltimore Sun reporters Carrie Wells and Justin Fenton contributed to this article.
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