Two men were killed and seven others — including a 13-year-old girl — were wounded in seven separate shootings in Baltimore on Thursday, according to police, pushing the city's 2017 homicide count to 170.
The shootings occurred across the city's west side, beginning shortly after midnight early Thursday morning and continuing late into the night.
Mary Lassiter, 79, was brushing her teeth shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday when she heard the shots from the first of the two fatal shootings.
Outside, at the corner of Arunah Avenue and North Bentalou Street in Midtown-Edmondson, a 40-year-old man had been shot multiple times. Paramedics from the Engine 36 fire station across the street immediately went to his aid, neighbors said, but he died.
"I've never seen nothing like it," Lassiter, who has lived in the neighborhood for 53 years, said of the recent pace of violence. "It's getting too close for comfort. You want to stay in your home and neighborhood, but the young people make it so hard. They don't have no regard for the neighbors, the community, the kids."
Police on Friday identified the victim as Kamal Thomas, of the 200 block of East Street.
About nine hours before, and little more than a mile away, a 13-year-old girl was shot in the cheek and leg in a triple shooting that also left two women — ages 32 and 35 — with gunshot wounds to the back, police said.
In that shooting, the first of the day, a dark vehicle pulled up at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Smithson Street in Upton about 12:15 a.m. and a gunman inside began shooting. The women and the girl were all listed in good condition later Thursday, police said.
The incident left residents in the neighborhood shaken.
Joy Abdullah, 32, a mother of four, said the shooting — which she didn't see — was another indication of the harsh environment city children face each day. "That's supposed to be a playground," she said, pointing to an overgrown, trash-strewn grassy lot across the street from the small court on Smithson where she lives. "Give these kids something to do, other than just summer jobs. Give them a better environment. When they get a better environment, they'll be better members of society."
About 2 a.m. Thursday, a 24-year-old man walked into a local hospital with a gunshot wound to his hand, police said.
Police said they learned the man was leaving a bar on Edmondson Avenue when a man approached and attempted to rob him. A struggle broke out, and at some point, the victim grabbed a handgun the robber had pulled from his waistband. The gun fired twice, striking the victim's hand, police said. The robber ran from the scene, police said.
About 1:40 p.m., a 25-year-old man was found suffering from gunshot wounds in the 2200 block of Christian St. in the city's Carrollton Ridge neighborhood, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. On Friday, police identified him as Marquette Hall, of the 6900 block of Dunman Way.
About 15 minutes later, police responded to an alley in the rear of the 3400 block of Garrison Blvd. in the city's Dorchester neighborhood for a reported shooting, finding an 18-year-old man with gunshot wounds to the legs. An unnamed male suspect with blood-stained clothing has been taken into custody and a firearm has been recovered, police said.
Another man was found shot in the back in the 300 block of South Fulton Avenue around 9:30 p.m. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.
About 11:05 p.m., a 39-year-old man was found with gunshot wounds in the 900 block of E. Patapsco Avenue, in South Baltimore. The man was in critical condition as of Friday morning, police said.
At the edge of the fatal shooting scene near the Midtown-Edmondson fire station, Rene Smith, 59, sat with family members on her porch.
"Something needs to be done more than is being done," she said. "They need to bring the National Guard in, knock the vacants down, and collect all the weapons. It's terrible. When is it going to stop?"
Smith said she didn't witness the shooting but saw paramedics from across the street run up and start treating the victim on the corner.
Blair Skinner, a spokeswoman for the Fire Department, deferred all questions about the paramedics' swift response to police, even though paramedics are Fire Department employees. T.J. Smith, a police spokesman, did not respond to requests for comment on the response.
Lassiter chatted with Maj. Sheree Briscoe, commander of the Western District, before returning to her porch to watch the street.
She said it's not the neighbors, many of whom are older, who are causing trouble, but young people passing through who somehow get their hands on guns and are all too willing to use them.
"I don't understand. Today there's no more fistfights. Where do they get all these guns?" she said. "It's like they can get them at the five-and-dime."
Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP, or text a tip to police at 443-902-4824.