Alexander Moulton completed a four-year apprenticeship program last year to become a painter at the Coast Guard shipyard in Curtis Bay, following in the footsteps of his father, who said his son worked seven days a week to provide for two children.
On Sunday night, the 29-year-old ate dinner with his parents and then headed off to a friend's house in Central Park Heights, where he was fatally shot inside a vehicle. His death was one of five being investigated by city homicide detectives over a 30-hour period in Baltimore.
Alonzo Moulton can't make sense of it. His son was never in trouble and he wasn't involved in drugs, he said. Detectives told him they think it might have been a case of mistaken identity.
"I know my God doesn't make mistakes. There's a reason why he took my boy," Moulton, 57, said in a phone interview. "Whoever did this will stand in the Lord's courtroom. He won't get away with it. That I can tell you."
Police commanders were not available for comment Monday about the outbreak of violence.
On Friday, John Skinner, the deputy commissioner of the agency's Crime Reduction Bureau, said that while homicides were up, overall crime was down. "There's a lot of stuff to be optimistic about" as the first quarter of the year concludes, he said. Statistics as of March 16 show total violent crime down 6 percent from last year.
But he described the department as being at a "breaking point" because of budget constraints and acceleration in the attrition rate.
"We put so much emphasis on fighting crime [in recent years], and some of the internal systems have broken down," said Skinner, referring to officers being moved from administrative roles into operational positions.
While police data has traditionally shown that the city's homicide victims have similar criminal records to those suspected in their killings, that trend isn't holding up this year. A review of court records show a majority of victims did not appear to have been in trouble with the law. Last year, 82 percent of victims had a criminal record, according to police data.
The victims include Twain Robinson, 36, and Quentin Cannady, a 47-year-old Navy veteran who worked as an audio/visual engineer and was killed in a home invasion in Northwest Baltimore. Four of the cases were classified as "domestic-related," and there have been three juvenile victims.
Moulton's killing was the third to occur Sunday. On Monday, two more people were killed.
The first shooting Monday occurred at about 10 a.m. in the 2700 block of Fox St. in Remington, not far from the Johns Hopkins University. At the scene, police walked in and out of a yellow-painted rowhouse as a young girl pressed her face up against the window of the home next door.
Police said the gunman had knocked on the door of the home and an argument took place, ending with shots fired. A motive was not known. The victim died at Johns Hopkins Hospital as officers inspected the scene.
About 12:30 p.m., a man was shot in the 3000 block of Windsor Ave. in the Walbrook neighborhood of West Baltimore. Details were not available.
Police identified a man killed Sunday morning in the 1800 block of Ruxton Ave., near Coppin State University, as 27-year-old Terrence Rheubottom, and said they had arrested Gary Burton, 50, in a fatal stabbing at a city homeless shelter Sunday morning. Anyone with information about other cases was asked to call 410-396-2100.