Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison sought to reassure residents at the end of a holiday weekend that left nine dead and five others injured, even as city residents remain ordered to stay at home because of the coronavirus.
In a news conference Monday afternoon, Harrison called the level of violence “incomprehensible and unconscionable,” but noted two of the shootings had occurred inside residences, suggesting that the victims knew the perpetrators.
“These are not random. We know for a fact that these are not random,” Harrison said of the incidents while speaking at the department’s Northern District. In several instances, victims had been carrying handguns; a few of the dead had been previously convicted of crimes like attempted murder. “Some of this was retaliatory violence," he said.
Eight people had been killed at the time of the conference; hours later, another man was fatally shot in Ashburton.
Harrison urged residents with information to call the Metro Crime Stoppers tip line, at 1-866-7LOCKUP. He could not say whether the recently launched surveillance planes had been flying at the time and location of any of the incidents over the weekend.
With businesses closed by the coronavirus and residents ordered inside, property crime is down by nearly 25% in the city, The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday. Gun violence in Baltimore remains down slightly from last year’s highs. Last year saw 263 shootings by May 25, in contrast with 217 as of Monday, according to data provided by police. As of May 25 last year, 119 people had been killed in the city, compared with 118 so far this year.
Memorial Day weekend has often been a time of violence in Baltimore. Several years have seen mass shootings, such as in 2016, when five people were shot during a cookout outside a North Baltimore home. In 2000, nearly a dozen people were injured and one person was killed when two gunmen began shooting into a crowd of mourners honoring a slain gang member.
And it’s not just in Baltimore: This year in Chicago, nine people were killed and at least 27 were wounded over Memorial Day weekend, making it the deadliest one since 2015, The Chicago Tribune reported.
In Baltimore, Memorial Day weekend homicide victims were:
- Steven Clark Sr., 60, of the 4200 block of Norfolk Ave. in Central Forest Park, killed Friday morning on the same block.
- Kyle Williams, 28, of the 5800 block of Clearspring Road in Mid-Govans, killed Saturday near Pimlico.
- Tyron McCray Bey Jr., 43, of the 3700 block of Elmely Ave. in Belair-Edison, killed Saturday in Coppin Heights.
- Deontae Emmons, 21, of the 100 block of Kossuth Ave. in Irvington, killed Sunday in the same neighborhood.
- Donald Foster, 34, from Staunton, Virginia, killed Sunday near Central Park Heights.
- Rico Graham, 36, of the 700 block of Newington Ave. in Reservoir Hill, killed Sunday in Frankford.
- Kimberly Height, 42, of the 1700 block of E. Lafayette Ave. in Broadway East, killed Sunday on the same block.
- An unidentified man, killed Sunday in Broadway East.
- An unidentified man, killed Sunday night in the 3300 block of Liberty Heights in Ashburton.