Police charged a man yesterday in a fatal shooting that occurred late Monday night in East Baltimore -- just blocks from the drug-ridden area where police staged a major raid last week. And in the wake of the slaying, some community activists wondered whether the raid had any lasting impact.
The victim, whom police would not identify, was shot several times in the head and back about 11:45 p.m. as he stood on a sidewalk in the 700 block of N. Rose St., just two blocks from houses officers raided Thursday night in Operation Mid-East.
Officers found the man lying around the corner from the site of the shooting, in the 2600 block of E. Madison St., police said. He was taken by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Donald Ferebee Jr., 19, of the 700 block of N. Rose St., was arrested nearby and was charged with first-degree murder.
The shooting occurred two blocks from the outermost boundaries -- and 15 blocks from the heart of the raid site -- of the Middle East neighborhood raided last week by 200 city police officers. Police raided 20 houses and apprehended 35 of the 104 people named in warrants, which stemmed from a three-month undercover operation.
Of Monday's slaying, Eastern District Capt. Gary D'Addario, who oversaw the raid, said, "Absolutely this concerns us."
Some East Baltimore community activists also expressed concern that the murder, so close in time and proximity to the raid, could threaten a community struggling to reap benefits of the sweep.
"I don't think I'm going to throw in the towel because this shooting happened," said Marie Washington, chairman of East Baltimore Community Corp., which provides human services and economic development in the area.
She added: "I can't say that it surprised me. It doesn't make me feel good that it happened just on the border."
Authorities have uncovered few details in the murder. Officer Sabrina V. Tapp-Harper, a police spokeswoman, could provide no information on the motive, or on whether the weapon used in the shooting was recovered.
Some community activists said a lack of jobs can lead to drug activity and incidents like the one Monday night.
"There's a big to-do made about these violent crimes, which we don't condone, but the problem is that there is no economic development going on," said Riker McKenzie, who leads the Riker (Rocky) McKenzie Human Development Center Inc., in the 1700 block of E. Eager St.
The center purchases abandoned buildings and hires neighborhood youth to refurbish them, but many are still without jobs.
"The youngsters are going to resort to the next thing available to get some income," he said. "The sweeps aren't in and of themselves going to make the neighborhood safe." What's needed is "an economic development process to provide job training for the youngsters in the area that are not employed," he said.
A major raid in March in the Midway-Barclay neighborhood off Greenmount Avenue drew praise from residents who credited police with cleaning out drug dealers -- though some wonder now whether the drug problem is creeping back.
Hattie Harrison, director of a mayor's station in the area raided last week, said that perhaps the police did not sweep the Midway-Barclay area sufficiently, and as a result, those left unscathed have moved into the Middle East area.
Ms. Harrison said that following last week's raid, elderly people in the Middle East neighborhood had begun sitting outside on their stoops, and parents had started to let their children play outside.
"Because of the murder, they'll watch it, they'll watch to see what happens," she said.