Five shot in West Baltimore by suspects in stolen car

Four people were shot by suspects in a stolen car who had evaded officers twice already Thursday, police said.

Suspects in a stolen car twice fled from police who attempted to pull them over Thursday before arriving at a West Baltimore corner, shooting into a crowd and hitting four adults and a teen.

The victims were taken to hospitals and expected to survive, police said. A 37-year-old woman was shot in the torso; a 39-year-old woman was shot in the leg; a 22-year-old man was shot in the leg; and a 15-year-old girl was shot in the arm, police said. They were not identified.

On Friday, police said a fifth victim was discovered: A 39-year-old woman shot in the lower back. She was expected to survive.

Officers heard gunfire in the 1900 block of W. Lanvale St. in Midtown-Edmondson about 3 p.m., but by the time they arrived, the suspects had fled, police said.

"What we know is that there were people in this vehicle that were brazen shooters," Baltimore police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said. "They were willing to do whatever it took to get to this corner and fire those shots, and we need to get them off the street. ... They came to this corner, and they opened fire on a crowd."

Police said they were looking for a blue Honda Pilot with Maryland tag 5BE1423.

The Regional Auto Theft Task force, a team of officers from the city and surrounding areas, was investigating stolen cars about 1 p.m. when a police car's tag reader scanned the Pilot's plate, which generated an alert that the vehicle had been stolen. Officers tried to stop the Honda, but it quickly accelerated, police said, and the pursuit was called off to protect other motorists.

Officers spotted the vehicle again and tried to pull it over, but it fled again, police said. The vehicle's description was broadcast over police radio, and officers were searching for it in West Baltimore when the shooting occurred, police said.

Police said the Pilot pulled up to West Lanvale and Appleton streets, and an "unknown number of people inside the car fired an unknown number of shots," Kowalczyk said.

"I was at the window and I heard eight shots," said Janai Lewis, who lives nearby. She said she looked from her backyard and saw a teen or young man in a bush who appeared to be shot in the shoulder. From the front of her house, she said, she saw a woman in the street and another sitting on the curb bleeding from the leg.

Police said they did not know of any motives Thursday.

Lewis said the last few days have been marked by gunfire in the neighborhood, including five shots she said she heard Wednesday night. She and other residents said the string of gunfire began after Sterling Day was shot dead in the 800 block of Monroe St. on March 23 — about a block from Thursday's shooting scene.

"His funeral was today," said Lewis, 21.

She said more officers should be posted on the surrounding blocks to watch for retaliatory shootings.

"They need to be here more, especially with the killing that happened and what's going on," she said.

There have been at least 13 shootings this year involving multiple victims in the city, including two shootings that wounded at least four people each.

Antoine Scott, 21, said residents are afraid they might get caught in the gunfire.

"I'm scared to raise my kids up in here," he said. "Killings after killings."

Scott said he grew up with Day, who never knew his father and whose mother died several years ago. He described the homicide victim as well-liked and a good father to his young daughter.

"We were putting together money for his funeral," Scott said. "Bunch of crazy shooters. People just need to stop. … The black community is better than that."

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