City hit by 4 more killings

The Baltimore Sun

Dr. Stephen Baylin first suspected something was amiss in his Federal Hill neighborhood yesterday morning when he opened his door but did not see his Sunday newspapers.

"I stepped outside," he said, "and the street was a crime scene."

For the second time in two days, Federal Hill residents awoke to news of a fatal shooting in their historic neighborhood. It was one of four killings that occurred yesterday in the city.

In addition to the shooting of an unidentified man in Federal Hill, a 23-year-old man was found shot to death in a minivan in West Baltimore and an unidentified woman was found dead in South Baltimore after suffering "obvious signs of trauma" that police would not specify.

The latest reported homicide occurred last night in West Baltimore, police said.

"Sometimes, unfortunately, it happens in numbers," Baltimore police spokesman Donny Moses said of yesterday's homicides, "and it just so happens to be one of those weekends."

The deaths bring the number of people killed in the city so far this year to 100, compared with 150 for the same period last year, police said.

Earlier this year, homicides in Baltimore were down 30 percent, bringing the number of killings in the first three months of the year to a 23-year low.

Moses said police had no suspects and knew of no motive for any of the five homicides that have occurred since Friday.

About 8:30 p.m. yesterday, a 21-year-old man was standing in the 500 block of Bloom St. near Brunt Street when he was shot in the back of the head by an unknown assailant, said Moses. The man, whose name was not released, died a short time later at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Moses said there was no evidence that last night's slaying was related to that of the shooting death Thursday night of Brian Goodwin, 21, who was also gunned down in the 500 block of Bloom St.

At 12:30 yesterday morning, the mother of Marcus Caldwell called police after finding her son dead in a Mercury Villager minivan in the 3200 block of Sequoia Ave. in West Baltimore's East Arlington neighborhood. Although the victim was found in the driver's seat, police said it was unclear whether he was killed there or shot somewhere else and driven to Sequoia Avenue.

Six hours later, a jogger found the body of a woman in the 1300 block of Nanticoke St., in South Baltimore's Washington Village neighborhood.

Police have asked for help in identifying the white woman, whom they estimate to be in her mid- to late 30s. She has tattoos on her right ankle and left shoulder that say "Jerome" and "AB," respectively, said Moses.

He said he did not have any other descriptive information about the victim. At the request of city homicide detectives, he declined to elaborate on how she was killed.

Police asked anyone with information about any of the killings to call the homicide unit at 410-396-2121.

The deaths in Federal Hill occurred just around the corner from each other on the tree-lined streets that border the steep hill that leads to Federal Hill Park.

A 35-year-old Waverly man named Keyva Bluitt died Friday night in the 800 block of Battery Ave., after being shot inside a car and then pushed from the vehicle as it sped away. Court records show that a man of the same name and age has been convicted of car theft, armed robbery and drug manufacturing and distribution.

Witnesses told police that they saw several people jump into a blue Toyota before hearing a shot fired as the car drove off. Moments later, about 9:15 p.m., a door of the car swung open and the man rolled out into the street.

Just around the corner, in the 200 block of E. Montgomery St., an unidentified man was fatally shot about 2:45 yesterday morning. Although several residents called 911 or the city's nonemergency help line to report hearing what sounded like gunshots, the victim wasn't discovered until 5 a.m., when a jogger found his body on the sidewalk.

Neighbors gathered in clusters throughout the day, swapping stories and cracking wry jokes. One man walking toward East Montgomery Street joked that he was heading to the "high-rent murder district."

While some Federal Hill residents expressed outrage that such killings would occur on streets lined by historic brick rowhouses that sometimes sell for more than $1 million, others were more circumspect.

"The odd thing is that you get - complacent isn't the right word - but you get hardened to the fact that it's the city," said Linda Dehne, who lives in the block where the body was found yesterday and owns a flooring and tile store in the neighborhood. "Certain things are going to happen in the city, and there's not much you can do about it."

Baylin, the interim director of the Johns Hopkins cancer center, said he woke up at the sound of gunfire but tried to "talk myself into believing they were firecrackers."

"You have to commiserate," he said. "There are many people living in Baltimore's neighborhoods who go around minding their own business and live with this kind of thing year after year."

Several residents said that police told them the pair of killings appeared to be drug-related and that the man killed yesterday was shot 14 times and was carrying a loaded gun.

Moses said he could not comment on either the number of bullets that struck the man or whether he was armed. Police are trying to identify the victim through fingerprints.

"At this point, it is too early to determine whether they are related," he said of the two killings in Federal Hill. "However, homicide detectives are looking into every aspect of both homicides."

Residents said they fear many of the neighborhood's recent crime problems are spilling over from Federal Hill Park, which sits atop Federal Hill and offers sweeping views of the city and harbor. A green sign with peeling white paint at the park's entrance declares that it is closed from midnight to 6 a.m. - and that the curfew is enforced.

Residents, however, say it is not.

One woman said the park resembles a "club scene" on weekend nights with visitors drinking, using drugs and having sex.

"This is such a safe community - or at least it's perceived that way - that of course they're going to come over here to trade drugs," said another resident, Teresa Deltete, who has lived in Federal Hill for two decades.

Like many of her neighbors, Deltete said she'd like to see officers enforce the park's curfew and police Federal Hill the same way they do the Inner Harbor.

"It's very unfortunate, but everyone is confident that it's going to be dealt with," she said. "We just have to get a little more aggressive as a community in our demands. And if not, we are going to ask for a rebate check from our taxes."

Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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