Man charged in fatal shooting

Police have charged a 20-year-old man in connection with a fatal shooting that might have ties to Sunday's shooting of 12 people at an East Baltimore cookout, according to law enforcement sources.

Brandon K. Brown was arrested Friday and charged in a double shooting July 19 that killed 16-year-old Jerrod Reed, police confirmed. Reed, who had no criminal record, was hit in the head by a bullet while standing on an East Baltimore corner, Kenwood Avenue and Madison Street, a few blocks from where he lived with relatives.

Law enforcement sources, who were not authorized to speak about the investigation, believe Reed was an innocent victim and that an associate of one of two feuding drug organizations was the intended target.

A week later, just a few blocks from where Reed was killed, 12 people were shot at a cookout. Among the victims in that shooting were a pregnant woman and a 2-year-old girl. Also injured was Steven "J.R." Blackwell, 25, who police say is the head of a drug organization that has contributed to a wave of violence touched off last year by a dispute over heroin.

Detectives were reviewing ballistics evidence to determine whether there are connections between the cookout shooting and Reed's death.

Brown's address is listed in the 1500 block of E. Fairmount Ave. Twelve vehicles were hit with bullets in the 1600 block of E. Fairmount Ave. just a few hours after the cookout shooting, and a man was seriously wounded in a running gun battle moments after that in the 1500 block of E. Baltimore St., two blocks away.

All told, 18 people were wounded in five incidents, one of the most violent nights in the city in recent memory, all in a span of a few hours on the city's east side.

In a e-mail to city residents Friday, Mayor Sheila Dixon said she was "fed up," saying the " 'stop snitching' code of silence once reserved for gang members has now extended to everyday citizens - grandmothers, girlfriends, children. ... Our communities have to respect themselves first to demand respect."

Though only 20, Brown has a long history of criminal arrests. Most significantly, he was charged in May 2008 with attempted first-degree murder and multiple handgun violations. He was found not guilty on all charges in January.