Two men arrested Thursday at the scene of an $85 street robbery in East Baltimore have been charged with a double slaying earlier that day, and police said they were investigating whether the men are involved in additional killings.
"We're looking at them for multiple homicides, not limited just to [Thursday]," said Chief Antonio Williams of the city police detectives division. "We believe they may be implicated in some additional murders."
Antoine Edward Adams, 32 of the 500 block of Patterson Park Ave. and Richard Alexander Damon Jr., 35, of the 5600 block of Force Road have been charged with two counts of first-degree murder each as well as other offenses, police said.
The announcement of their arrests came after a day of violence that was startling even for Baltimore, where 278 people were killed last year. Five people died in four incidents across the city Thursday, raising the number of homicide victims to 26 for the new year.
After the five homicides, acting police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm announced a shake-up of his command staff.
The investigative break in one of Thursday's shootings - where a man and woman were found dead in a house in the 800 block of N. Bradford St. - came as officers were patrolling the Patterson Park neighborhood about 12:30 p.m. the same day and spotted four men in an alley near Noble and Clinton streets, according to court documents.
After a second pass, the officers stopped and told all the men to raise their hands. That's when they saw the handle of a gun protruding from Adams' waist, the documents state.
Adams and Damon had just robbed the two other men of $85, police said.
Adams also was carrying crack cocaine and a pipe, the documents said. The handgun was a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
That gun, witnesses and a shell casing linked Adams and Damon to the Bradford Street killings 6 1/2 hours earlier and more than a mile away.
Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman, described the double killing as "an apparent robbery that escalated into an execution-style murder."
Police were called to the East Baltimore rowhouse about 6 a.m. for a reported shooting. They found Teresa Faye Moore, 51, on a first-floor living room sofa and an unidentified man on the floor of a second-story bedroom, Williams said.
Moore lived in the house. Both victims had been shot in the head.
Near one of the bodies, officers found a .45-caliber shell casing that would help them link Adams and Damon to the crime, Williams said. Witnesses also reported seeing the men fleeing the scene, he said.
Police had not made any arrests in Thursday's other killings. They were investigating whether they might be connected, Williams said. Four of the five victims were shot in the head - including three woman.
In addition to Moore, two of Thursday's other victims have been identified by police:
At 7:30 p.m., Penelope Medina, 42, of the 1400 block of Fairmount St. was found near the 2100 block of Fairmount St., police said.
At 11:20 a.m., Willie Covington, 56, was found inside his home in the 2100 block of Aiken St. He had been shot in the back, possibly days earlier.
At 1:40 p.m., an unidentified woman was found lying in the snow in a park in the 5700 block of Chinquapin Parkway.
Aside from declaring the Bradford Street double killing an apparent robbery, police have not discussed motives in the killings.
Adams and Damon have been arrested previously on numerous drug and weapon charges, according to court records.
Police said the officers who arrested the suspects were working in one of the department's new target areas. Commanders have shifted resources to increase police presence in high-crime sections of East, West and Northwest Baltimore. Planned since last year, the East Baltimore zone includes the Patterson Park neighborhood.
It comprises 4 percent of the Eastern and Southeastern districts but is the scene of 28 percent of those districts' homicides and 26 percent of the shootings, according to a Dec. 30 police memo that does not specify the time period of the statistics.
While some organizational aspects of the police initiative are new, the concept is similar to previous efforts. In late 2002, city police focused on 14 areas throughout the city for a three-month period.
The new targeted areas are typically covered by one or two officers but will now have eight or nine officers, said new acting Deputy Commissioner Marcus Brown. The officers were shifted from other areas around the city and from the organized crime division.
Also, the department is paying overtime to extend the shifts of some officers from eight to 12 hours, Brown said.
"We'll be doing that until we feel we've got the violence under control," he said.