Baltimore homicide detectives were investigating their sixth case in three days on Friday night, as a spate of violence continued at the start of a new year.
Detectives stood in the snow in the 1700 block of Ashburton St. in West Baltimore's Coppin Heights neighborhood, where a man had been shot several times, including in the head. Police said the unidentified man was not expected to survive.
Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts visited the scene along with other top officials and told reporters that in his travels, the streets have generally been quiet.
Of the shootings, he said: "The critical piece is that this is not gang-related, they do not appear to be drug-related. They're random incidents, and our job now is to connect the pieces of the puzzle and find out what's the background and what's the motive."
Batts said police would have a "more active deployment" this weekend and focus on known violent offenders.
The latest shooting came on the heels of four people being shot on Wednesday and Thursday. Earlier Friday, a man also told police he was shot in the hand after encountering two men in the 1800 block of W. Fayette St.
Police released few new details in Thursday's cases but confirmed that a man found shot in a vehicle in Northeast Baltimore's Belair-Edison neighborhood had died. Two other men were shot in the Broadway East neighborhood, one who died and the other who police said is not expected to survive. None of the victims were identified Friday.
Thursday's shootings occurred during a heavy snow.
"When I talk to the homicide guys, they said this has happened over the years," Batts said.
On New Year's Day, Frank Turner, 48, and his son, Anthony Turner, 21, were gunned down in Southwest Baltimore. Police have not made arrests in any of the cases, though officials said they had "good leads" in the father-son killing.
Last year, there were no shooting deaths in the city for the first 10 days of the year. Baltimore ended the year with an 8 percent increase in killings and a 9 percent increase in nonfatal shootings.
In Coppin Heights, Melvin Chapman and his wife, Shirdell, had gone out to get groceries for the week and returned to crime scene tape, unable to get into their home.
"They're telling us it'll only be about 30 minutes," Melvin Chapman said as they sat in their car at the end of the block.
On the other end of the block, a woman shoveled her front walk after returning home from work. "I just pray," said the woman, who did not want to give her name.
"I definitely worry. … But there's nothing I can do or say. I just try to keep to myself," she said as she hurried back inside.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun