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Baltimore ended 2019 with 348 homicides on record. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison addresses the violence Tuesday at a news conference.
Baltimore ended 2019 with 348 homicides on record. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison addresses the violence Tuesday at a news conference. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore ended 2019 with 348 homicides on record, according to data compiled by The Baltimore Sun.

The year had already set a grim record of 57 killings per 100,000 people, the city’s worst homicide rate on record. Then killings went on for eight more days.

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Monday night, police found three men fatally shot in a North Baltimore rental house. A fourth man was wounded. On New Year’s Eve, police announced a 25-year-old man who was shot Dec. 18 had died — possibly the final homicide of 2019. The victims’ names were not released as of Wednesday afternoon.

The city’s total homicide count is second only to 1993, when the city suffered 353 killings and had nearly 125,000 more people. December 2019 ended with 35 homicides.

Police commanders held news conferences on each of the last two days of the year to address the violence. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison pledged new efforts to catch killers. Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young urged citywide cooperation to bring peace. Police union leaders, meanwhile, continued to criticize the department’s efforts as ineffectual.

With an unrelenting pace of homicides, detectives have struggled to arrest the killers. The department has cleared — a measure of arrests, suspects dying before trial and other factors — only 31% of homicides in 2019, one of the lowest rates in the last 30 years.

Police officials confirmed one shooting on the last day of 2019: an 18-year-old man who was struck by gunfire around 7:10 p.m. in the first block of South Arlington Avenue in South Baltimore. The victim was taken to a local hospital. Police did not specify the victim’s condition.

In the early hours of 2020, police reported a shooting downtown. Officers patrolling the area heard shots coming from the unit block of South Gay Street at 3:52 a.m. Wednesday. They found a 42-year-old man with a gunshot wound to one of his shoulders, according to the department’s Facebook page. He was taken to a hospital, but police provided no further information about his condition.

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