On a quiet Baltimore street, a young man cries, and dies

'I had to talk about it, seeing a young man die like that.'

After seeing blood from the wound in the young man's left side, Jason McIntyre noticed something else: tears. They streamed down the victim's face as he lay across the front seat of his car. The young man had been crying, either before he was shot or because he was shot.

McIntyre, a 46-year-old Marine veteran, had just come from his house after hearing gunshots from a rear bedroom he uses as an office. It was Tuesday, June 21, about 6:30 in the evening, on Glenwood Avenue near Northwood Drive and the leafy stretch of Chinquapin Run that winds through Northeast Baltimore.

McIntyre ran to a window. He could see a gold-colored Lexus pull away while another car, an Acura, rolled to a stop against a tree. Figuring the gunman had fled in the Lexus, McIntyre ran to the Acura and found the victim.

"At first I could not see him," he says. "He was laying face-down toward the passenger side, attempting to get out. I had to go to the driver side to unlock the door. The window was down."

The shooter had fired through the open window.

McIntyre hustled back to the passenger side and opened the door. The victim, who appeared to be in his 20s, wore a T-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes. He was still alive.

"I could see that he was bleeding from his left side," McIntyre says. "I called 911. Other neighbors began to come out, and one young lady provided a towel so I could apply pressure on the wound."

That's when McIntyre noticed the tears.

"Stay with me, stay with me," he urged the young man. "Stay with me now."

McIntyre, a front desk supervisor at a Baltimore hotel, has lived in the house on Glenwood all his life, but for the four years he spent on active duty with the Marines. He had never seen a shooting there before.

Even during the Gulf War in Kuwait, when he served in the artillery, he had never been so close to a dying man.

"I can still see his eyes, see his face," McIntyre says. "I kept saying, 'Stay with me, stay with me.' But his pulse was very weak. He convulsed once."

Police officers and paramedics were on the scene fast — in about five minutes, McIntyre thinks.

"They pulled him out of the car and that's when I noticed a wound to the chest as well," he says. "They started to work on him. I got out of the way and helped keep two of his family members away. Word of what happened was quick. More family members arrived."

From a sudden slowdown in activity around the shooting victim, what seemed like a lack of haste in getting the ambulance away, McIntyre assumed the young man had died. He thinks he could have died in the car.

Homicide detectives arrived, and then crime-scene technicians, marking the dreary routine of gun violence that goes on and on, sometimes reaching neighborhoods like this one, where such things rarely happen. The killings in Baltimore — years and years of horrible, maddening street killings — have left a trail of trauma, and the scope of it might never be fully measured.

It was around 9 p.m. before the police left Glenwood Avenue.

"We were questioned to what we had witnessed," McIntyre says. "A police officer, [Rafael] Peralta, took the time to ask everybody if we were all right, and did anybody need any counseling, which I really appreciated him asking. Many people were visibly shaken, as nothing like this ever occurred here during my lifetime. I had to talk about it, seeing a young man die like that."

He told his boss at the hotel about it the next day. On Sunday, he sat with the pastor of his Lutheran church in East Baltimore and talked about it. Monday night he went to a community meeting with about 25 neighbors to hear someone else talk about it: the commander of the Northeastern Police District, Maj. Richard Worley.

McIntyre heard some reassuring words about overall crime being down and calls to 911 being up, which is a positive development in a city where, over the years, distrust between police and citizens most certainly kept criminals at large, and where the dubious and so-far-futile prosecution of the Freddie Gray cops has caused a law enforcement rift the city cannot afford.

Still, even should all forces align to fight it, the special gun violence that infects Baltimore seems almost intractable. It catches even those who seem to be reaching escape velocity.

Christopher Collins, for instance, was 25 years old; he had just graduated from Morgan State University, which described him in a Facebook post as "a bright young man whose future was full of promise." Chris Collins was the one who cried and died on Jason McIntyre's quiet street.

dan.rodricks@baltsun.com

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