When Joseph Lozupone heard the gunshots and screams from outside the window of his Upper Fells Point home, the Washington firefighter ran down to render aid to the two men who'd been wounded.
But by the looks of their injuries, he quickly realized there was little he could do. "They'd both been shot in the head," he said. "Those were kill shots."
Police said both of the victims died after the shooting, which occurred at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of S. Wolfe St. After efforts to revive them, medical personnel pronounced the individuals dead at 5:20 p.m. and 6:41 p.m., respectively.
Less than an hour later, homicide detectives were sent to the 1000 block of E. Oliver St. in East Baltimore for another fatal shooting that occurred next to a corner store called Big Momma's Grocery. Police said the victim was pronounced dead at 5:52 p.m. after medics attempted treatment for multiple gunshot wounds.
The fatal shootings pushed Baltimore's homicide count for this year to 198. In 2011, Baltimore's homicide numbers fell to 197, the lowest number since the 1970s. The city was unable to sustain that last year, and homicides rose again.
The latest shootings occurred in neighborhoods with little in common, but both rattled residents.
"We've got kids and grandkids that play out here," said Charlene Green, 53, standing near the Oliver grocery store as police lit up the street to search for clues.
Police released few details in either case but said they don't appear to be related.
In Upper Fells, a few blocks north of the waterfront, pools of blood marked the sidewalk in the middle of the block where the two men were shot. Parents picked up their children from the nearby Wolfe Street Academy. Many homes in the area have recently been rehabbed and the streets were packed with traffic.
Darren Jaworski, 50, said he's lived in the area his whole life and it wasn't uncommon to hear shots ringing out to the west and north in the 1990s. Though the neighborhood has become safer since then, he said, the Wolfe Street shooting was "the closest I've seen."
But to Nicole Creech, 41, Upper Fells Point seems to be backsliding. A resident since 2003, she ticked off a number of recent crimes, including burglaries, a car theft and a robbery, in which people she knew were victims,
"Police can't be everywhere all the time, but it seems like [the crime] has shifted," she said.
Police said they were searching for at least one gunman in the Upper Fells Point shootings who fled on foot, but they didn't have a description.
Chrissy Anderson, 25, said she often presses political and police leaders in the area for more resources. She said police told residents they had started some initiatives, "but it's not really helping," she said.
About two miles north, about 5:20 p.m., an officer was patrolling the Oliver neighborhood when he heard gunshots and found a man who had been shot in the chest at least once.
As police processed the scene next to Green Mount Cemetery, few people milled around, and the streets were quiet. Evidence markers could be seen in the street next to Big Momma's Grocery in the 1400 block of Holbrook St., and two residents said the man who was shot had helped run the store. They knew him as "Kenneth."
"I've never known him to have a problem with anyone," said Paulette McNeil, 55.
Oliver has long struggled with gun violence. Residents have taken on several efforts to revive the area, and earlier this year the city flooded the area with resources to help with everything from fighting drug addiction to filing taxes.
Before Tuesday, there had been three homicides and four nonfatal shootings in Oliver this year. There were nine last year and eight nonfatal shootings, two of which occurred in the 1400 block of Holbrook.
Police asked anyone with information in either case to call 410-396-2100.
Sun reporters Colin Campbell and Carrie Wells contributed to this articleCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun