Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the stabbing occurred around 1:30 p.m. near the intersection of North Howard and West Fayette streets. He said one of the three victims, a juvenile, went into cardiac arrest and was rushed into surgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, where the youth died.
The other two stabbing victims were taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. One was listed in critical condition; the other was expected to live, police said.
Guglielmi said the victims are 15- and 16-year-olds, but police have not released their identities. He said the police knew of no motive for the stabbing and were searching for suspects.
Large crowds had gathered downtown around the time of the stabbing for a parade starting at City Hall and ending at M&T Bank Stadium to celebrate the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII victory.
"This was an isolated incident," Guglielmi said. "The victims knew their attackers. We believe this stemmed from a dispute. At this point, there is no information to suggest that these individuals were involved or came here for the Ravens victory celebration. We're still trying to parse out all of those details."
He acknowledged, however, that police did not know whether the teens had been at the parade.
City Councilman Brandon Scott, the vice chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee, said the stabbings dampened what should have been a celebratory mood in Baltimore.
"It's an unfortunate reminder that, while today is a day to celebrate, we need to find a way to get the city to come together around the issues of violence," he said, also pointing to substance abuse as general contributor to Baltimore's persistently high murder rate. "We have to find a way to galvanize around those issues, the same way we have galvanized around the Ravens and their Super Bowl victory."
Homicide detectives were dispatched to the scene of the stabbing, and investigators could be seen walking in and out of a McDonald's there, which was cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape. Guglielmi said the stabbing did not happen inside a business.
Guglielmi said the city police department's vast network of surveillance cameras — more than 600 in all — has provided detectives with good evidence. "They were very successful in capturing some of this incident," he said. "We have some optimistic leads."
Robert Summerville, 21, of Northeast Baltimore, said he was leaving M&T Bank Stadium when he happened upon a scuffle. He said a group of kids who looked to be young teens appeared to be fighting in the street.
"They were young kids," he said. "There was a lot of confusion."
Lester Davis, spokesman for Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, called the killing "extremely tragic."
He pointed out that city officials took precautions to ensure citizens' safety during the parade. "There were scores of police officers and emergency personnel on the scene," he said. "It's disturbingly sobering."
Guglielmi said city police brought in extra resources for the parade and planned for weeks to prevent violence. Officers from the Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police were in Baltimore to assist.
"We have a reputation for managing special events and managing those events very well," he said. "Downtown Baltimore is one of the safer parts of the city. We work hard at it. ... We're going to find out who did this. We're going to find out who did this on a day that Baltimore was going to celebrate. We owe it to the family and we owe it to the city."