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Baltimore Crime Beat
Police and court news
Man, 25, shot in side in W. Baltimore

A 25-year-old man was shot in the side in West Baltimore Wednesday night, police said.

Officers were called just before 9 p.m. to the 1600 block of Frederick Ave. in Franklin Square, where they found the injured victim, police said. He was taken to a hospital for treatment, and his condition was not released.

Police did not give any information on a suspect or a motive in the shooting. Western District detectives are investigating, and anyone with information may call 410-396-2477.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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Jury hears Michael Johnson's first interview with police

Jurors in the Phylicia Barnes murder trial heard tape of accused killer Michael Maurice Johnson's first interview with police, three days after the teenager from North Carolina went missing in late 2010. 

Johnson, described as calm and cooperative by Det. David McDermott, agreed to be interviewed in the waning hours of New Year's Eve. Police said he was not a suspect at the time, and asked him about his movements that day and his relationship with the 16-year-old. 

"I call her 'Lil Sis'," Johnson told McDermott.

The tape of the interview was played for jurors the day after prosecutors had a cell phone mapping expert chart the movement of Johnson's cell phone on Dec. 28, when Phylicia was last seen alive. His account from Dec. 31 of his movements coincided with the path charted by his cell phone, which never goes east of Northwest Baltimore. Phylicia's body was found floating in the Susquehanna River four months later.

Prosecutors have said that Johnson developed an inappropriate...

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Mayor says some officers may feel anxiety about not being 'next Darren Wilson'

Nationwide protests after the deaths of two unarmed black men by police in Missouri and New York might cause officers to hesitate to use deadly force for fear of becoming the "next Darren Wilson," Baltimore's mayor said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, police unions say departments across the country are battling anxiety that could compromise officers' safety. They called upon more police chiefs and elected leaders to vocally back officers, who have felt their public support erode even as they continue to do dangerous jobs protecting communities.

In the latest flash point in Baltimore, a city officer drew a Taser on a man concealing a gun who shot him Sunday night. The investigation into the shooting continues.

During a weekly news briefing Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said intense public scrutiny and four months of protests against police brutality in Baltimore may be affecting officers' ability to act at critical moments.

"A lot of officers I've heard — not just in Baltimore but...

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Two shot in Baltimore Tuesday night

Two men were shot — one in the head and the other in the hand — in separate instances in Baltimore Tuesday evening, police said.

In the first, a man was shot in the head just before 5 p.m. in the Towanda-Grantley neighrborhood, police said.

Officers found the victim with severe injuries in the 4400 block of Daytona Ave. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, police said.

Due to the severity of his injuries, homicide detectives are investigating, and anyone with information may call 410-396-2100.

In the second shooting, officers were called just after 8:30 p.m. to Denison Street and Walbrook Avenue, where they found a man shot in the hand. He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Southwest District detectives are investigating, and anyone with information may call 510-396-2488.

Police gave no information on a suspect or motive in either shooting.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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Court records show multiple opportunities to have jailed accused police shooter

The man accused of shooting a Baltimore police officer might have remained in jail had a judge denied him bail as prosecutors requested six months ago, when he was arrested on drug and weapons charges.

That was one of two opportunities the criminal justice system had in June to keep 19-year-old Donte Jones off the streets. In the other, a probation agent failed to send a judge a request for an arrest warrant that had been prepared.

Jones is now in jail after police say he shot Officer Andrew Groman in the abdomen Sunday night during a traffic stop in West Baltimore. Groman, 27, is recovering from surgery and remained hospitalized Wednesday.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said it did not know why its probation division did not complete the process to secure a warrant against Jones when police say he violated his probation in June. He had previously pleaded guilty to a handgun charge.

Baltimore police union president Gene Ryan called it "unbelievable"...

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Neighbor testifies that he saw Michael Johnson struggle to move large container

A former neighbor testified for the second time about observing Michael Maurice Johnson struggling to move a plastic storage container the day that 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes was last seen alive. 

Elvis Teah, who testified at Johnson's first trial in 2013, said Tuesday that Johnson was shirtless and sweaty as he lifted the container up the steps from his basement apartment on Dec. 28, 2010. Prosecutors' theory of the case is that Phylicia's body was inside of the container. 

"I asked him, 'Do you need a hand, this stuff seems heavy,'" Teah recalled. "He said, 'No, I got it.'"

Johnson told police in a recorded interview three days later that he saw Phylicia asleep on the couch when he left the apartment at 1:30 p.m.

Teah was unclear about what time he saw Johnson. He said it could have been anywhere from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At the previous trial, Teah testified that he saw Johnson in the morning, which was emphasized by the defense.

Assistant State's Attorney Lisa Goldberg also showed...

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