A father and son were gunned down on Wednesday afternoon in Southwest Baltimore, the city's first two homicide victims of 2014.
The shooting was reported at about 3 p.m. in the 3900 block of Edmondson Ave., and police said the victims were 48 and 21 years old. One was shot in the head, and the other was struck multiple times.
A neighbor, Doreatha Chapman, 74, said the victims were a father and his son, which police later confirmed. Their identities were not immediately released.
Both victims were pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Blood stained the sidewalk at the corner of Edmondson and Normandy avenues, and a fire truck later arrived to wash it away. Evidence markers dotted a front yard, as police diverted traffic from the busy thoroughfare.
Chapman, who plants gardens and volunteers in schools in the area, said the older victim was a “lovely person” and said he had three daughters.
She heard at least three shots from her kitchen as she prepared food, and said officers arrived quickly.
“This is a sad occasion,” Chapman said as she stood on a front porch.
Wednesday’s shootings continue a worrisome trend of increased gun violence throughout Baltimore at the same time that other large cities were reporting double-digit decreases in their homicide rates.
There were 235 homicides in Baltimore in 2013, an 8 percent increase over 2012 and a four-year high. Non-fatal shootings in Baltimore also surged up after six consecutive years of declines.
“I’m just devastated,” said Councilwoman Helen Holton, whose district includes Edmonson Village.
“I just sent out an electronic newsletter in which I wrote that though we’d just been through a year with an uptick in murders, I was looking forward to a new year of greater peace for our city. This is just awful.”
Monique Washington, president of the Edmondson Village Community Association, where the shootings occurred, said problems of violence "concern all communities, not just one."
"People want the community cleaned up, but don’t want to put the work in," she said. "As a community leader who takes this to heart, it is sad to see individuals who feel the only solution is to take someone's life. I can only hope that 2014 is a better year.”
Sun reporter Mary Carole McCauley contributed to this story.
An earlier version of this story misspelled Doreatha Chapman's name. The Sun regrets the error.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun