4 slayings bring count for '91 to 30 Homicides continue despite mayor's vow


Four people were slain in Baltimore yesterday and Friday night, including a man police said had attempted to rob drug traffickers in a house east of the 4300 block of York Road.

The killings brought to 30 the number of homicides in the city since Jan. 1, according to police.

At least two of the 30 slayings have been ruled justifiable and will not be included in the murder statistics at the end of the year.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods met in late December to discuss the city's increasing number of killings and vowed to reduce it in the wake of the violence of 1990 that left 305 people dead -- the most in two decades.

The city's most recent string of slayings began Friday night with a fatal stabbing in a downtown Calvert Street apartment and gunfire near York Road that left one man dead and another wounded.

The shooting victims were bent on robbing drug traffickers when they forced their way into a house in the 700 block of East 43rd Street and announced the robbery, said Sgt. Jay C. Landsman of the city's homicide unit.

Exactly how many people were in the house at the time or what happened afterward was uncertain. Neighbors reported hearing a number of shots and called police.

When officers arrived about 10:30 p.m., they found James Gibbs, 38, of the 4800 block of Midwood Avenue, lying on the floor dead with a single gunshot wound of the chest. Wesley Ross, 20, of the 4600 block of York Road, was seriously wounded with three gunshot wounds of the chest and was listed in stable condition last night at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

A dozen bags of suspected cocaine were found strewn on the floor along with two handguns belonging to the victims, police said.

Two hours later, police officers were called to the 100 block of North Chester Street for another shooting. They found Charles Clay Turner, 23, of the 1500 block of North Collington Avenue, sitting behind the wheel of a white Jeep with a fatal gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Police said they had neither a motive nor suspect in the slaying.

At 1:25 a.m., police found Charles Wright, 39, of the 7200 block of McLean Boulevard, lying dead on the street in the 3600 block of Woodland Avenue with a single stab wound of the chest.

Police said the victim had argued on the street with another man who pulled a knife and stabbed him. Invesigators said they are uncertain what the argument was about, and were looking for a man in his late 30s known as "Skip."

The downtown killing was discovered about 11:30 a.m. when police received a report that a bloody knife had been found lying in the hallway of a house in the 900 block of North Calvert Street.

Homicide Detective Gary T. Dunnigan said police followed a trial of blood to a third-floor apartment, where they found 39-year-old Rickey Pressley stabbed to death.

Detective Dunnigan said the slaying appeared to have happened sometime between 6 p.m. and midnight Friday, and he asked that anyone who knew of the victim or his activities Friday evening call the homicide unit at 396-2100.

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