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Harford councilman says Edgewood ‘can do better’ after man killed in what police say was ‘targeted’ shooting

Harford County law enforcement said they believe the 27-year-old Baltimore man who was shot and killed Sunday night in Edgewood was targeted.

“For those in the neighborhood that were concerned for their safety... we believe this to be a targeted incident, with no greater safety concern to the community,” Cristie Hopkins, director of media relations for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday afternoon.

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Sheriff’s Office deputies were called around 7 p.m. to the 1900 block of Edgewater Drive for a report of a shooting.

When they arrived, deputies found a man, who has since been identified as Deandre Sellers, suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, where he died from his injuries, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

No other details, including possible suspect information, was available to release Tuesday.

The shooting has upset Harford County Councilman Andre Johnson, who represents the Edgewood and Joppatowne areas.

“When are we going to do better!!! Another shooting in my District ... senseless acts of violence has got to stop! I love my District but I hate responding to scenes of this nature!” Johnson posted on his Facebook page Sunday evening.

Less than three months ago, in the early morning hours of July 4, a 15-year-old was shot and killed in the area of Eloise Lane and Brookside Drive, roughly a half mile from where Sunday’s fatal shooting occurred.

Rahzir Martin Meyers, 18, of Abingdon is charged with the murder of Khalil Lephonzo Johnson. Police said the two were members of rival street gangs. Meyers is scheduled to stand trial in January.

Councilman Johnson said he saw news of Sunday’s shooting on Facebook and rushed to the scene.

“I’m sick and tired of these incidents happening, not just in my community, but in and around Maryland and around this nation,” Johnson said Monday. “Gun violence is consuming this nation and we have to do something about it. This man was 27 years old, his whole life ahead of him.”

The councilman said he’s tired of using the phrases “thoughts and prayers” and “it’s unfortunate.”

“I’m tired of that,” he said. “We can do better, we will do better. Enough is enough for me."

Community engagement is necessary to combat the problem, he said.

“It’s about working closely and hand-to-hand with law enforcement and it’s about ridding the community of those individuals that want to create chaos within the community,” Johnson said. “It’s a fraction of a percentage of the people in the community that make an entire community look bad.”

Through a strong partnership with law enforcement, a plan needs to be in place that allows police to enforce the laws on the books and for the community to have input so there isn’t animosity between law enforcement and the community, Johnson said.

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“The fact of the matter is, whether it’s law enforcement just being in the community to lock people up and the community feeling as if they don’t have a real stake in talking to the police and having that cooperation, then you really don’t have the community and police engaged to get information on what’s going on,” he said.

The “boots on the ground” suggest that police are there just to police. They don’t engage with the community, is what Johnson said he hears from his constituents. He admits that’s part of the job of law enforcement, but there’s also a community aspect — to engage with kids, with homeowners and tenants “and to let them know they’re not only there to put handcuffs on people, but they’re there to be a partner for the community,” Johnson said.

When he was at the scene Sunday evening, he said he talked to residents, to see if they knew anything, if there was anything he could do to help and find out “what we can do together to abate some of these issues.”

Johnson said he intended to talk to representatives of Moms of Murdered Sons and Daughters and Moms Demand Action “to see if we can do something together."

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