On the eve of a special election for Ward 6, Annapolis police are investigating a homicide in one of the ward’s public housing complexes.
Police said a juvenile was shot to death in an old recreation area between the Harbour House and Eastport Terrace apartment complexes. They did not identify the youth or provide any details about their investigation.
Candidates hoping to win a seat representing the ward on the City Council decried the violence, as did Mayor Gavin Buckley. It was the second homicide in the ward in the last year, and the second citywide so far this year.
“People are sad; people want to know why it happened,” said DaJuan Gay, a write-in candidate who was campaigning in the neighborhood Monday. “In part, people are shocked, but at the same time people are used to gunshots and gun violence.”
Police received a call reporting shots fired at 12:14 a.m. Monday and officers arrived quickly, police said in a statement.
Police the victim and was flown to a regional trauma center and later died.
Gay, who said he went to the crime scene shortly after police, said the victim was a teenage boy well respected in the community.
“He had so much more life, so much more to learn,” Gay said.
Other candidates for Ward 6, called the homicide another tragedy.
“A family has lost a child today, we need action,” Democrat Yiannes Kacoyianni wrote in an email. “Marches, meetings and speeches are not going to solve these problems. We need a real partnership between the community and the police.”
George Gallagher, the Republican candidate, attributed the “cycle of violence” to drugs and “underlying poverty.”
“There needs to be opportunity and hope for the children and grandchildren in these communities,” he said.
When Harbor House resident Chemere Gladden left for work Monday morning she saw officers and detectives around the neighborhood. She hoped witnesses to the shooting would come forward.
“I feel as though that people need to step up and come forward in helping apprehend the person who did this,” she said.
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said the city will continue to address safety and security for all city residents. His administration hosted the Safe Cities Summit last week in response to the June 28, 2018, mass shooting in the Capital Gazette newsroom and other of violence throughout the city. The summit brought together experts on gun violence, prevention and policy.
“Just days after the gun summit, I’m disappointed in another senseless loss of life,” Buckley said in a statement.
Police are still investigating the October death of Kory Johnson, 27, in the Bay Ridge Gardens Apartments also in Ward 6. One man has been arrested in the shooting death last month of Edward Montre Seay, an Annapolis rapper.
Gay said the latest shooting occurred in a former recreational field between the public housing communities — not 200 feet from his mother’s front door.
“People are just moving on. Doing what they’re supposed to do,” he said, describing kids playing on the grass that was part of a crime scene hours earlier.
Gay described the events as painfully ironic because, he said, it is the responsibility of elected officials to give youth better options: things to do, activities to be involved in.
“Our job is to step up in the community to make sure these things don’t continue to happen … Getting our kids into programs to expand their knowledge,” Gay said. “I think it’s all about what we provide them to do and right now we’re not providing them much.
“We fell short in that department.”
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The Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis, which owns and operates the two apartment complexes, could also invest in other ways to make the neighborhood safe, Gladden said.
“I am hoping in the near future, the housing authority will look into having more cameras, brighter lighting in certain areas of the neighborhood and trying to see about having security on the property,” she said.
Ward 6 has the city’s largest concentration of public housing, from Eastport Terrance and Harbor House to Newtowne 20 and several complexes dominated by rent subsidy vouchers.
Gallagher also sees room for the housing authority to step up, he said. It needs to collaborate with the City Council to bring more opportunities to youth growing up in Annapolis public housing neighborhoods.
Unacceptable living conditions, including lack of air conditioning and long delays for repairs, don’t foster a sense of safety, he said.
Those living in public housing also need a pathway to ownership, he said, “so that they’re not renters in perpetuity.”
Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. at the Eastport Community Center, 1014 President St.