Police say a 22-year-old man walking out of an alley in Southwestern Baltimore on Sunday morning was killed after gunman fired a hail of bullets at him, making him the city's 29th murder victim over the past 30 days.
The fatal shooting was also the weekend's fourth homicide and came less than 12 hours after Devon Butler, 26, of the 200 block of Vincent St., was killed Saturday night near Ramsay and S Calhoun streets in South Baltimore. A 47-year-old man was also shot in the torso in that incident, and police said he was listed in stable condition on Sunday.
The murder Sunday occurred in the 1300 block of Longwood St. in the Rosemont neighborhood and was reported at 10:44 a.m., police said. An officer two blocks away arrived at the scene within a minute, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said, but paramedics couldn't save the victim.
Batts identified the man as Kennard Buckner, 22. Maryland court records indicate he lived just feet away from where he was gunned down.
People driving back from church in the 3000 block of Belmont Ave. were greeted by several officers, a crime technician and a homicide detective working behind crime tape in the adjacent dead end street of Longwood, where several yellow evidence markers were scattered around.
Top police leaders including Batts, Col. Darryl DeSousa, chief of the patrol division, and Lt. Col. Cliff McWhite, also inspected the scene. Batts said most of the weekend's fatal shootings have occurred outside of the city's violent "hot zones" and included a domestic-related shooting — all crimes he described as "random."
But the shooting of Buckner appeared to be gang-related, he said. Police have a person of interest in the shooting that they are searching for, he said.
"We will continue to drive the fight against gangs," he said.
Batts said he believes police are deployed in the right areas to combat the surge in violence.
"We've been on top of this pretty clearly all weekend," he said, adding that the "vast majority of these are outside of the hot zones."
DeSousa said he had been meeting with all of the police's district shift commanders Sunday morning to discuss deployment strategies when he responded to the shooting scene. He said he will continue to meet with shift commanders on Sunday, he said, and plans to shift resources he believes will help with the spike in violence.
"We're going to tweak a few things that's going to help us out," he said.
The pair of homicides Saturday and Sunday followed the killing of a 31-year-old man in the Jonestown neighborhood early Saturday and a triple shooting that killed a 22-year-old man Friday in the Pen Lucy neighborhood.
Citywide, 210 people have been killed this year compared with 194 people at the same point in 2012.
Last year, Baltimore saw 217 murders, 20 more than 2011's total.