Cates was shot Dec. 19 in the 1500 block of E. 29th St., in front of an address listed for relatives. Police have not provided a motive or arrested a suspect.

At the scene, a dozen officers stood around waiting for the crime lab. A FedEx employee wasn't able to deliver a package on the street. Two groups of men stood farther back, talking among themselves.

Lawrence Davis, standing in front of his home, shook his head.

"Twelve uniformed officers, four detectives, wasting all that manpower," he said.

Davis said drugs fuel all the crime, and spoke of the lack of opportunities for young men.

There was a time, Davis said, that he was involved in the wrong things. He had three siblings and a single mother who worked several jobs.

He wanted nice things, but also needed to cover the basics.

"It took some of my friends dying to say, 'This ain't for me.'" Now he has a young child of his own.

"I have the same dreams every parent has, that my child doesn't have to come up in that environment."

Baltimore Sun reporter Ian Duncan contributed to this article.

Homicides across the country

Oakland, Calif. — down 25 percent (as of Dec. 12)

Philadelphia — down 24 percent (as of Dec. 16)

Flint, Mich. — down 22 percent (as of Dec. 18)

New Orleans — down 22 percent (as of Nov. 14)

Chicago — down 19 percent (as of Dec. 8)

Detroit — down 14.6 percent (as of Dec. 18)

Baltimore — up 8 percent (as of Dec. 24)

Newark, N.J. — up 19 percent (as of Dec. 1)

Washington — up 26 percent (as of Dec. 18)