By Colin Campbell and Justin George, The Baltimore Sun
10:58 AM EST, December 6, 2013
A 26-year-old killed in West Baltimore on Thursday night was the city's 218th murder this year, surpassing the city's total homicides in 2012.
It's the second consecutive year that the homicide count is on the rise in Baltimore. In 2011, Baltimore saw 197 murders — a record low in more than two decades.
Homicide detectives explored an alley and a nearby yard in the 3300 block of Virginia Ave. in Central Park Heights on Thursday night, where police said Rodney Smith was shot in the back at 6:58 p.m.
By 8:07 p.m., Smith had been pronounced dead, the department confirmed.
The murder happened less than 24 hours after another man was shot and killed only a few miles south, in the 2800 block of Parkwood Ave., just west of Druid Lake. Officers responding to a report of a shooting found the man on the ground and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:50 p.m. Wednesday, Baltimore police said.
A preliminary investigation showed that the victim was walking in the block when an unknown suspect approached him. Police said the man took out a handgun after a short discussion, shot the victim several times in the torso and then fled.
At the Parkwood Avenue scene Thursday morning, outreach workers from the Safe Streets anti-violence program passed out fliers for a peace rally in response to the shooting.
The shooting was one of three that occurred Wednesday. A man suffered a gunshot wound to his right leg in the 3200 block of Dudley Ave. at about 6:40 p.m. in the Belair-Edison neighborhood.
Detectives believe that victim was in the 3000 block of Dudley Ave. when three unknown men approached, one firing at him with a handgun. Police have no suspects in that case.
A man was also shot in the 3000 block of Belmont Ave., and was reported to be in critical condition.
Homicide detectives have no suspects in either killing and are asking anyone with information to call police at (410) 396-2100.
Another man was shot in the back Thursday evening in Patterson Park, in the 100 block of S. Highland Avenue, and is in serious but stable condition at the hospital. Anyone with information may call 410-396-2422.
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