Baltimore Police on Wednesday named 18-year-old Cortez Wall the city's latest "Public Enemy No. 1," saying he is "possibly a veteran killer." (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)
Baltimore Police on Wednesday named 18-year-old Cortez Wall the city's latest "Public Enemy No. 1," saying he is charged in one fatal shooting and a person of interest in multiple other violent crimes.
"Don't let his age fool you," said T.J. Smith, a police spokesman. "He's somebody that we believe is a very violent individual."
Smith also lamented the fact Wall was not already in custody on Wednesday, citing his release on bail after a recent drug arrest despite being on probation for a 2016 gun charge.
"Wall's situation represents much of our frustration. He should be in jail," Smith said. "...Now, he's wanted in one murder and he's a person of interest in at least one other."
Wall did not have an attorney listed in online court records, and could not be reached.
Wall, of the 5600 block of Plymouth Road in the city's Hamilton Roads neighborhood, is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting on May 6 of 28-year-old Channon Simpkins in the 300 block of Whitridge Avenue, in the city's Harwood neighborhood. That day was the deadliest of the year.
Police believe Simpkins' killing was "retaliation involving drugs." He said detectives used community tips and other "investigative methods" to identify Wall as the suspect.
Smith said Wall also is a person of interest in "possibly additional acts of violence to include homicides and non-fatal shootings," but would not say what shootings or killings or give a timeframe for when they occurred.
Smith said police hope that their naming Wall as "Public Enemy No. 1" — a designation reserved for those with "a reckless disregard for safety and life" — will help in attracting tips leading to his arrest, as it has in past "Public Enemy" cases.
"Each and every time we've done this, that person has been taken into custody in a matter of days," Smith said.
Two days later, on May 11, a warrant was issued for his arrest for failing to appear in court in the original gun case in which he'd violated his probation.
"This isn't unique," Smith said, of Wall managing to escape detention despite multiple violations and arrests. "It's sad, actually."
Melba Saunders, spokeswoman for the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office, said prosecutors had recommended Wall be denied bail in the drug case.
Gerard Shields, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which represents parole and probation and pre-trial services, said department records showed Wall's probation agent reported numerous probation violations to the court. They also show the agent notified the court "immediately after" Wall was arrested on the most recent drug charges, he said.