Baltimore endured a second consecutive weekend of deadly gunfire, adding two fatal shootings to the six that occurred during Labor Day weekend as police seek neighborhood cooperation to help stem the violence.
A double shooting in Druid Heights early Saturday morning — in which a young father was killed around the corner from his home and a second man wounded — had neighbors shaking their heads, though they acknowledged recent improvements in the neighborhood. It comes as a child shot in crossfire in the same community continues to recover from his injuries.
Police said the shootings this past weekend appear to have been the result of ongoing disputes, possibly over drug territory, and that detectives are working to figure out more information by canvassing the neighborhoods.
"We have to continue our focus on illegal guns, we have to find out what the motives are behind these shootings and we have to look for commonalities," said Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman.
Key to that process will be cooperation from the public, he said.
"There are people out in the neighborhoods who know who is shooting who and why they are shooting," Guglielmi said.
About 2:30 a.m. Saturday, police found two shooting victims in the 300 block of Gold Street. A 26-year-old victim is expected to live, police said. But Maurice McCoy, 28, who neighbors said had a fiancee and young children, was pronounced dead at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center less than an hour later.
Anthony Pressley, director of community resources for the Druid Heights Community Development Corp., said crime in the neighborhood has gone down overall, and he sees the weekend shootings "not as an indicator, but as an isolated incident."
Still, they raise issues.
"My concern is that the community is moving forward, but people will start moving out. There is positive change now," he said.
The organization has built or rebuilt about 150 homes in Druid Heights and the surrounding blocks, with more in the works; operates programs for children of all ages and families; and is working with St. Martin Church of Christ toward creating a multimillion-dollar center for education, job training, apprenticeships and arts programs only steps from where neighbors say McCoy was shot.
Kelly D. Little, executive director of the corporation, said community involvement has grown, and the long-term focus remains on continued improvement.
"I just bought my first home here," said Rosalyn Jefferson, a 28-year-old parishioner at St. Martin, saying the community is not dangerous but needs more resources. She said she hoped the resumption of school would give children and teenagers more direction and more to do.
"I'm concerned for the city because you don't want to see valuable lives lost," she said. She said she arrived home Saturday morning to the sight of police cars and ambulances near her home.
Avery Williams, another neighborhood resident, said the community is much better than it was in the 1990s, and the recent gun violence — not only there, but around the city — worries him.
"It does concern me because it shouldn't be happening," he said.
McCoy's family declined to comment Sunday. Neighbors said the gunfire was out of character for their street.
"We don't usually have that in this block right here," said Antoine Richardson, a neighbor of McCoy's. As he detailed a friend's car, he described McCoy as a "very nice young man."
The weekend violence was not isolated to Druid Heights.
About 10:06 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to the 2600 block of Kent Street for a report of a shooting and found a 38-year-old man shot multiple times. He died at 10:46 p.m. at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
About 2:45 a.m. Sunday, police responding to a call about a shooting in the 1700 block of Chilton Street in Northeast Baltimore discovered a 31-year-old man who had been shot in the groin, police said. He told police that he had been walking in the block when he was approached by a person he did not know who shot him and ran away, police said.
The shootings came as a 9-year-old boy hit by crossfire in Druid Heights was still recovering and the family of 22-year-old Larelle Amos, a young mother who police say was killed by a stray bullet over Labor Day weekend, prepared for her funeral Monday.
Amos' funeral services are at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Stephen's AME Church, 1601 Old Eastern Ave. in Essex. The family will receive friends for an hour before the service at the church.