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Annapolis alderman sets town hall Tuesday after shooting shakes Clay Street neighborhood

A resident's car parked on Clay Street was struck by a stray bullet. Police say a disagreement at a party resulted in the early Sunday morning shooting that killed a Baltimore man.
A resident's car parked on Clay Street was struck by a stray bullet. Police say a disagreement at a party resulted in the early Sunday morning shooting that killed a Baltimore man. (Donovan Conaway)

A town hall on gun violence has been scheduled following a shooting on Clay Street that killed Baltimore resident Shawn McGowan and injured three others.

Alderman Fred Paone, R-Ward 2, will host the meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church on West Washington Street. The meeting is intended to be a session to listen to community members and answer questions. The public is invited and attendance is free.

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McGowan’s death is the sixth homicide this year. The fifth, 14-year-old Camarin Wallace’s death, pushed the city past its 2019 total.

Other elected officials and community leaders at the town hall will include Mayor Gavin Buckley, Annapolis Police Chief Edward Jackson, the Caucus of African American Leaders, Anne Arundel County NAACP, United Black Clergy and others.

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At about 12:11 a.m. Sunday, Annapolis police responded to the 100 block of Clay Street for reports of shots fired. There they discovered McGowan, who died from his injuries. Three additional victims suffering from gunshot wounds were located inside a residence. Police said two of the victims were 17-year-old girls from Annapolis, whom they did not identify, and the other they identified as 26-year-old Tijee Bennett, also of Annapolis.

Jackson said at a news conference Sunday afternoon that the gunshots happened after a disagreement during a party. Residents living in the area say the neighborhood is normally quiet but had gotten busier about eight years ago.

Diesha Contee, 34, is a lifelong resident of Annapolis. She said she spoke to McGowan shortly before his death. The two talked often, sometimes daily, as McGowan was also close with Contee’s 5-year-old son. She knew about the party on Clay Street but didn’t know McGowan would attend.

Police have reported McGowan is a Baltimore resident, but Contee said he was from Annapolis.

Contee’s birthday is Tuesday and she planned to celebrate it with McGowan.

“He was a good a person and he was great with kids, they all loved him. If he cared about you, he really cared and you felt it,” Contee said. “He was always in good spirits, and the first thing he always asked me is ‘Where is my son,' and they were real close."

Contee is the founder of Rebuilding and Recreating Our Maternal Village, a support and advocacy group focused on women. Her organization has been planning a Halloween event Saturday, and the shooting won’t to derail that. The Trunk or Treat will still take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, at the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis building on 1217 Madison St.

It has been tough planning the event after McGowan’s death, but Contee said the kids in the area have lost so much to the coronavirus pandemic closing down activities and canceling events. She said having the event outside will help manage pandemic safety and people have been interested and supportive.

“We definitely wanted to do it this year because they pretty much took everything away from the kids, and they haven’t had much to do this whole year,” Contee said.

Police urged anyone with information to call detectives at 410-260-3439 or to call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP and submit an anonymous tip. If your tip leads to an arrest or indictment you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000, police said.

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