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Baltimore hits 100 homicides for the year at second-fastest pace in a decade

Baltimore hit 100 homicides for the year with the fatal stabbing of a 74-year-old man at home and the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy on a recreation center basketball court in separate incidents Tuesday, marking the second-fastest pace of killings in the city in a decade.

The killings continue a stream of violence that left 34 dead in April, after lower homicide counts in February and March. Local anti-violence activists have scheduled their latest “Baltimore Ceasefire” effort to stop the violence for this weekend, from Friday through Sunday.

“You can just sit back & wait for things to change, or you can be the change you wanna see. #BaltimorePeaceChallenge #BaltimoreCeasefire,” wrote Erricka Bridgeford, one of the peace effort’s founders, on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

Last year, the city saw its 100th homicide on April 24. But prior to that, Baltimore hadn’t seen 100 killings this early in the year since 2007, when it occurred on May 7.

The city’s current count might also dip back below 100, if only until the next killing occurs, as police say a fatal stabbing downtown early Monday — in which a 23-year-old man stabbed another 23-year-old man who was attempting to rob him — may be reclassified as a justified killing. That determination depends on a review of the case by the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office, which had not been completed as of Wednesday morning, police said.

The number of killings this year remains below this time last year, which was the deadliest year in city history, on a per capita basis, with 342 homicides.

In 2015 and 2016, which saw the second- and third-most homicides per capita in city history, there weren’t 100 homicides until late May. In all the other intervening years since 2007, the city didn’t hit 100 homicides until June or July.

At the current pace of violence, the city is likely to surpass 300 homicides for the fourth year in a row. Prior to the surge in killings that began in 2015, the city hadn’t seen 300 homicides in a single year since the 1990s.

The killing of the 16-year-old boy occurred outside the Mary E. Rodman Rec Center in the 3600 block of W. Mulberry St. in Allendale in Southwest Baltimore on Tuesday night, police said. The boy has yet to be identified publicly.

The killing of the 74-year-old man — identified Wednesday as William Mortimer — occurred at his home in the Brooklyn neighborhood of South Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Police said Wednesday morning that they had arrested 34-year-old James Boisseau, Mortimer’s stepson, and charged him with second-degree murder in the stabbing. They said an argument had erupted between the two men before the stabbing.

Boisseau did not have an attorney listed in online court records on Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. Police said he had been taken to Central Booking downtown.

The Ceasefire this weekend will be the fourth held in the city. The last one, in February, was the first where no one was killed in the city during the event’s designated window.

Baltimore Sun reporters Jessica Anderson and Talia Richman contributed to this article.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

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