A 22-year-old man was fatally shot in the head in the Central Park Heights neighborhood of Northwest Baltimore Thursday afternoon, according to Baltimore police.
Officers found the man, identified as Raheem Payne, suffering from his injuries in the 5000 block of Queensberry Ave. about 12:55 p.m., after being called to the area for a shooting, police said.
Police said Payne was walking in the block when an unknown suspect approached him and opened fire.
City Councilman Brandon Scott, chair of the public safety committee, said he is friends with Payne's older brother and knew Payne as a kid growing up. Scott said he was in Annapolis working with lawmakers on a bill to reshape city police districts "in a more efficient way" when he got a text message that Payne had been shot.
He said he hadn't seen Payne in years, but to him, "Rah Rah's always going to be that little kid with this big smile, who was always wanting to be a part and be around everyone else."
Scott said he used to spend a lot of time with the brothers in the area where Payne was shot, where they "all would just hang out side, talk, we would meet up there to go play basketball, go to the club."
Payne's death is another example of the unacceptable levels of violence in the city, Scott said.
"Clearly it's something that we're not doing right," he said.
Scott said more job training programs and resources for families whose loved ones are in danger of committing or being victimized by violence are needed.
"We have to stop looking at this as just a policing problem. We have to get out of that mindset that police officers alone are going to get us out of this," Scott said. "We are going to have to look at the long term gains and not just the short term gains."
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-Lock-Up.
Payne's death was the 27th homicide in Baltimore of 2017, meaning the city has seen more than a killing per day since the start of the year.
As of Monday, according to available city data, homicides were up 50 percent compared to the same time last year. Shootings were up 44 percent.