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'Murder epidemic’: Fatal shooting Sunday afternoon in East Baltimore is city’s second homicide during Ceasefire weekend

Erricka Bridgeford was hoping to bring peace and healing as she let the sage burn on the very spot a 29-year-old man was killed just hours before on Friday. Then her phone buzzed.

With the coronavirus forbidding most in-person gatherings, most of the Baltimore Ceasefire weekend events are being streamed and held virtually. The man’s mother saw Ceasefire founder and creator Bridgeford blessing the space live on Instagram and wanted to thank her.

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Bridgeford said the phone call was the “highlight” of her weekend and described it as a “miracle” because when she left her house for the 1300 block of Lakewood Ave., they didn’t know the man’s name.

“Although it was heartbreaking, she was overwhelmed with how much Baltimore loved and supported her losing a child just two days before Mother’s Day,” Bridgeford said.

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Baltimore Police have not named the man but said he was shot in the upper torso East Baltimore’s Berea neighborhood around 4:30 p.m. He was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital, police said, where he later died.

A man killed in an East Baltimore shooting Sunday afternoon, marked the second fatal incident since the start of the weekend.

Police said they were called to the 1400 block of E. Cold Spring Lane around 4:25 p.m. for a shooting.

When officers arrived in the New Northwood neighborhood, they found a man suffering from several gunshot wounds to his body. Police said the man died at the scene.

Detectives said the man was approached by an unidentified suspect when the individual drew his gun and started shooting. The victim ran into a business, trying to escape the suspect, where he eventually collapsed.

During Ceasefire weekends, Bridgeford asks for “nobody to kill anybody.” During the last Ceasefire in November 2019, three people were killed.

The coronavirus appeared to slow the pace of violence when the city went almost five days without a fatal shooting at the end of April. But May has been off to a violent start, with 16 killings within the first 10 days. Warmer weather can lead to higher crime rates because more people are outside and interacting with one another, according to a Baltimore Sun story.

The city is one killing behind last year’s pace, with 104 as of Sunday night.

“It’s been a heartbreaking weekend but a joyous weekend,” Bridgeford said. “We were able to honor the pain and celebrate the joy at the same time.”

Bridgeford said she isn’t surprised Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t slowed crime more because it made Baltimore’s social injustices bubble to the surface even more.

Unemployment across Maryland is at a record high and with those struggling to make ends meet, Brideford said, ripping up a T-shirt to make or mask or spending $10 to buy one could break the bank.

The Ceasefire founder also described Baltimore’s high crime rate as an epidemic, and she said just because another one is sweeping through the area doesn’t mean the other will stop.

“We don’t address the murder epidemic like we do the COVID-19 epidemic," she said. “If we did, we would see results.”

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