When he experienced crime spikes as mayor in New Orleans, Morial said he made sure to find out what was driving the shootings and then communicated to residents what the problem was and how the city was responding.

"My long-held view is so much of what drives this violence is closely related to the drug trade, and confronting that is really, really difficult," he said. "The leaders have to be visible, they have to continue to be visible. It's not uncommon for there to be finger pointing because the level of frustration where these killings are occurring … . The community is in pain so the leaders have to do a combination of healing and leading."

Across notoriously apathetic Baltimore, outrage over the violence reached new levels.

On Friday evening, City Councilman Nick Mosby's weekly "Enough is Enough" rally drew about 200 people who walked through a West Side neighborhood to show a united front against the violence.

"We outnumber the bad guys," Mosby said.

The group, singing upbeat religious songs, began at North Avenue and Poplar Grove, near the spot where two men were fatally shot on Thursday. Many were not from the neighborhood, but had come with church groups.

"Somehow, because we are all together, I feel a sense of peace right now," said Catherine Mugweh, 44, of Abingdon. "We know we are being protected by God."

Residents said they were grateful for the outside support.

"It made me feel a little better," said Pearl Wilson, 33, who lives in the 1800 block of Gertrude Court. "I'm glad somebody's doing something."

Wilson tries to keep her nine children, ranging in age from 1 to 18, inside because of the recent violence.

"My kids, they're growing up in this. I'm scared for them, I'm scared for everybody," Wilson said. "I'm trying to get out of Baltimore."

Meanwhile, Munir Bahar, a 32-year-old East Baltimore resident, was organizing a march for next week to "publicly denounce violence in our city." He hopes to get 300 people to take part.

Bahar, who runs the COR fitness center, said his cousin was murdered in April and one of his young martial-arts students was shot recently.

"Folks are killing women," he said. "Folks killing kids. ... The police are doing their part. The city is doing its part. It's time for the community to step up. It's a state of emergency."

Baltimore Sun reporters Jean Marbella and Carrie Wells contributed to this article




Recent homicides

June 29: unidentified victim, 200 S. Haven St.