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Man, 19, city's latest homicide victim

The Baltimore Sun

A 19-year-old East Baltimore man was shot to death as he sat in a minivan in Baltimore's Cedonia neighborhood, the latest victim during a violent holiday weekend that added four victims to the city's homicide toll.

Davon Williams, whose last known address was in the 3600 block of Dudley Ave., was shot in the head about 5:15 a.m. Saturday in the 5800 block of Waycross Road, Baltimore police said. He was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital hours later. Police had made no arrests in the case.

It was the latest in a spate of killings in Baltimore. The latest reported city homicide toll for the year is 118.

The killings have prompted a city minister, the Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant, to call for a "Stop the Sinning" campaign, and they have pushed Mayor Sheila Dixon's administration to consider selectively increasing police overtime and shifting some of the city's surveillance cameras to higher-crime areas.

"One is too many. So many families are affected," said City Council Vice President Robert W. Curran, who recently proposed legislation that would have allowed the city to close off traffic to certain neighborhoods - a proposal that met with stiff opposition in the council. "We need to figure out how to move this discussion forward."

In one of the weekend killings, an argument between two homeless men ended Sunday when one stabbed the other about a block from City Hall on N. Gay St. Police said they arrested George Kensler, 59, in that stabbing. The name of the victim was not released.

And two men, Brian Johnson, 31, and Amin Reed, 30, were fatally shot Saturday in separate incidents in West Baltimore, police said.

The violence came days after the Dixon administration announced the city would begin offering overtime to specific police units in coming weeks in an effort to halt the violence.

An administration spokesman, Anthony McCarthy, said yesterday the new overtime policy had not gone into effect but would shortly.

Dixon unveiled a crime strategy this month that indicated her administration is shifting away from the zero-tolerance policy of her predecessor, Martin O'Malley. Instead, Dixon has called for more city safe zones - in which high-crime neighborhoods receive extra police attention - and also a greater emphasis on individual violent criminals.

Last week, Bryant, who heads Empowerment Temple AMC Church, vowed to decrease by half the number of killings in the city. He said a gun buy-back is slated for June 1, and members of the clergy and others would go to neighborhoods to talk with young men who are likely to be the perpetrators and victims of violence.

Meanwhile, the carnage continued over the holiday weekend. Johnson, of the 500 block of Half Mile Court, was found shot in front of a house in the 1600 block of Vincent Court and pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Eight spent shell casings from a semiautomatic handgun were found nearby, police said.

Shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday, in the 700 block of N. Payson St., police found a man and a woman with gunshot wounds. Police said the man had been shot in the head and the woman had a graze wound to her lower back.

Both were taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where the man, Reed, was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m., police said. The woman's name was not released.

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