Surge in city shootings, with four more shot overnight

One person was killed and three were wounded in shootings Tuesday night and Wednesday morning as a surge in violence that began Friday continued.

The shootings come on the heels of a weekend in which eight people were shot, followed by a drive-by fatal shooting Monday night in the Bayview neighborhood. Several of the incidents appear to have stemmed from robbery attempts, and others have occurred in neighborhoods not typically associated with gun violence in the city.

Because of a similar rash of shootings last year — 18 people were shot the weekend of March 20, 2011 — shootings are down compared with last year, with 72 shot this year compared to 76 at this time in 2011.

Data provided at a meeting of criminal justice leaders last week showed that 90 people had been shot or killed as of March 12, the most since 2009 but half as many as in 2007, when 175 people had been shot or killed at that point.

A spokesman said Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III was taking part in a meeting to discuss robbery trends and was not immediately available for comment. The head of criminal investigations, Col. Jesse Oden, also could not be reached for comment.

The latest killing occurred near the Coppin State University campus, near West North Avenue and Ashburton Street. A 23-year-old man was found at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday with a gunshot wound to the chest and was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said a "person of interest" had been taken into custody but had not been charged as of Wednesday morning.

The shooting occurred in an area designated Monday as the next site for the Safe Streets violence intervention program. The announcement came as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake launched national Youth Violence Prevention Week at Frederick Douglass High School. The Greater Mondawmin Safe Streets site is expected to begin work in the summer, but organizers say recent violence has increased their sense of urgency.

"We've got to get started with this," said the Rev. Franklin Lance, president of the Greater Mondawmin Coordinating Council. "Lives are at stake."

Another man was gravely wounded about 11 p.m. Tuesday, when a 20-year-old man was shot in the head in the 500 block of E. 21st St., along the border of East Baltimore's Midway and Barclay neighborhoods, police said.

At the scene Wednesday morning, homicide detectives were seen walking through a vacant lot in the block, across from a large community garden.

At least one of the overnight shootings was believed to be a robbery attempt. Police said a 49-year-old man was pumping gas at a station in the 4500 block of Edmondson Ave. about 9 p.m. when an unknown man approached and asked him for a ride, offering to pay.

They drove a few blocks, to the intersection at Woodington Road, when the passenger pulled a gun and attempted to rob the driver. There was a struggle, police said, at which point the victim was shot in the stomach. Police said the suspect fled on foot, and the victim was taken to an area hospital, where he was listed in serious condition.

The victim was found in Rognel Heights, where two men were shot in the 700 block of N. Woodington Road during a robbery attempt last week. Earlier Tuesday, friends and family of David McClaughlin met for a candlelight vigil commemorating the one-year anniversary of the killing of the city Department of Public Works employee, who was jumped and fatally stabbed at the same Edmondson Avenue gas station.

In Northwest Baltimore, police said, a 54-year-old man was walking in the 3700 block of Woodbine Ave. in the Liberty Heights neighborhood when two suspects pulled a gun on him. He reached for the gun and was shot in the hand. Police didn't knopw of a motive.

Police have not identified a man shot Monday night in the Bayview community of Southeast Baltimore, who was shot and killed by someone in a passing vehicle while stopped at an intersection in the 6400 block of E. Pratt St.

Baltimore Sun reporter Mary Gail Hare contributed to this article.