By Justin George and Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun
10:59 PM EDT, July 26, 2013
Two men were shot – one fatally -- in the East Baltimore neighborhood of McElderry Park early Friday morning, city police reported.
One man was shot in the head and died at a local hospital. A second was shot in the back and survived, police said. He was listed in stable condition.
They were found in the 2700 block Jefferson Street shortly after 1:30 a.m. Police do not have any suspects or motives.
At the intersection of Jefferson Street and North Belnord Avenue later in the morning, police investigators were gone but crime scene tape remained tied to rowhouse window air conditioners. Note cards used to mark bullet shells were scattered across the roadway.
Residents on the block, who declined to be identified out of fear, said several people were milling around on the sidewalks when a man walked up and began firing a gun. Neighbors heard between four and five shots.
They said one of the victims ran up nearby North Lakewood Avenue until he collapsed near East Monument Street and was taken away by an ambulance.
The area is part of McElderry Park Safe Streets, a government-funded program that sends reformed gang members and others into neighborhoods to mediate conflicts and suppress violence without police intervention. All around the crime scene, black Safe Streets "Stop Shooting Start Living" bumper stickers could be seen on a fire hydrant, on plywood covering a vacant home and a rowhouse's window.
"The Safe Streets initiative has definitely had a positive impact in the neighborhood, where it had been 71 days since the last shooting until early this morning," Michael Schwartzberg, spokesman for the Baltimore City Health Department, which monitors the program, said in an email.
Safe Streets East or the McElderry Park branch was the first Safe Streets location launched in Baltimore in June 2007, he said. During the program's first 23 months, the neighborhood didn't experience a homicide.
An evaluation of Baltimore's Safe Streets programs by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health last year found that between 2007 and 2010 McElderry Park's Safe Streets program was associated with a 26 percent decrease in homicides but a 22 percent increase in non-fatal shootings.
Evaluators said the program would have reduced violence more if its mediators hadn't been stretched into a nearby neighborhood where they were attempting to resolve conflict, as well.
Schwartzberg said the Safe Streets East program is planning a shooting response rally at 5 p.m. Monday where Friday's shooting occurred.
Police are asking anyone with any information about the shooting to call homicide detective unit at 410-396-2100.
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