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Baltimore homicides pass the 100 mark as violence spikes heading into Ceasefire weekend

Coronavirus has ground Baltimore to a halt, curtailed the number of arrests and upended nearly every aspect of life in the city.

But the pace of killing has not slowed one bit.

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Two shooting deaths Thursday night and another Friday afternoon pushed the number of homicides this year to 104, one more than the total at this time a year ago. Baltimore ended 2019 with its highest ever homicide rate.

Around 10:44 p.m. Thursday, police responded to the 2500 block of E. Biddle St. and found 28-year-old Shawanna Spann suffering from a gunshot wound to her head. She was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital and later pronounced dead, police said.

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About an hour later police arrived in the 2100 block of Aiken St. in East Baltimore, where an unidentified man had been shot and was unresponsive. He also was transported to a local hospital, where he died.

Also Friday morning, Baltimore police identified another homicide victim, David Spangler, 55, who was homeless and killed May 5 in the 1900 block of McHenry St. And a 19-year-old shooting victim who was in unstable condition after being shot Wednesday in the 4400 block of Flowerton Road has since died.

Then, around 4:30 p.m., a man was fatally shot in the 2700 block of E. Preston St.

The deaths are part of an especially start to May, with 15 killings in the last eight days.

Erricka Bridgeford, founder and organizer of Baltimore’s Ceasefire weekend, said that even amid the COVID-19 pandemic she has been going to homicide scenes to bless the area.

Friday was the first day of one of the Bridgeford’s 72-hour CeaseFire weekends, during which volunteers go out to street corners or spaces of murder scenes and “bless the areas," often inspiring community members to embrace and encourage peace.

Bridgeford said there are at least 10 locations CeaseFire members will focus on over the course of the weekend.

“This last week was really bad. It was a really hard week for Baltimore," Bridgeford said. “While I am always heartbroken when I am in any murder space, I notice when there are stretches when there are no murders at all.”

The killings in the city are slightly ahead of last year’s pace, with a total of 103 homicides recorded as of Friday morning compared to 102 last year.

This year’s pace follows last year’s record-breaking tally of 348 homicides, the second-highest homicide count since 1993, which registered 353 killings when the city’s population was higher by 125,000 people.

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