Baltimore rapidly recorded two homicides early yesterday, soon after the city's deadliest year since 1999 came to a close.
Sylvester McLaughlin, 30, of the 3600 bock of Campfield Road in the city became the first homicide victim of the year when he was pronounced dead at 1:18 a.m. at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He had been shot at a convenience store at 3204 Hollins Ferry Road in West Baltimore several hours earlier.
"It appears that the victim was outside the 7-Eleven when an unknown suspect approached him on foot and began shooting at him," said Baltimore Police Department spokeswoman Nicole Monroe.
McLaughlin went inside the store, but the shooter followed him and kept firing, Monroe said. The gunman ran away and had not been caught yesterday.
Police knew of no motive, Monroe said.
In the second killing, a police officer on patrol in West Baltimore heard gunshots at 1:58 a.m. and soon came upon a 2004 Ford Excursion in the 4100 block of Woodhaven Ave. that had hit several parked vehicles.
The driver was slumped over the steering wheel and had been shot several times. The rear wheels of the sport utility vehicle were spinning.
Police did not release the name of the driver yesterday and knew of no motives or suspects in the slaying, Monroe said.
Baltimore had 271 killings last year, the first time since Mayor Martin O'Malley took office that the number of homicides increased. It was the highest total since 1999, when 305 homicides were recorded.