Nine people were killed during a deadly Memorial Day weekend in Baltimore — including three men shot to death in what police described as “a running gunbattle,” in Northwest Baltimore Sunday night and another man gunned down at a rooming house on the city’s west side Monday.
The triple shooting shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday in the Central Park Heights neighborhood created a large crime scene, with responding officers finding one victim in each of three blocks in the area of Spaulding and Beaufort avenues.
One man who had been shot in the torso was taken to a hospital, where he died, and the other two men died at the scene with gunshot wounds to the head. Their names weren’t immediately released, although police said one of the men was 20 years old.
“We believe that this was perhaps a running gunbattle, whether these individuals were shooting at one another or whether other individuals were shooting at them,” Police Commissioner Michael Harrison told WBFF-TV at the scene.
Harrison said a gun was found next to one of the men who died on the scene and a magazine from a firearm was found next to the other who died there.
“It just shows the brazenness of today’s criminal element and people wanting to enact their violence against other people, even when other people are out and they’re putting other people in harm’s way,” the police commissioner said.
A spokesperson on Monday afternoon told The Sun the triple shooting victims’ next of kin have not been notified.
A few hours earlier Sunday, police said a 17-year-old girl was found shot in the head in the Lower Edmondson Village neighborhood in Southwest Baltimore. Police said Monday afternoon she’s still in the hospital in critical but stable condition.
Police said that officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 500 block of Denison St. at 5:28 p.m. and found the injured girl. She was taken to the hospital where she was in critical condition, police said. The department said the shooting was possibly “domestic-related.”
In the killing on Memorial Day, a 33-year-old man was shot in a rooming house about 7:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of West Fayette Street, police said. His name was not released. Police had been called for an aggravated assault but found the man shot in the head, and medics pronounced him dead at the scene, police said. No other details were released.
Mayor Brandon Scott condemned the shootings in a statement Monday morning.
“The gun violence witnessed this weekend shows us that there are cowards among us who are willing to take a life, no matter how small or insignificant the beef,” Scott said. “We must hold them accountable and rid our streets of the weapons they use to take our daughters and sons away from us.
“I will be meeting with Commissioner Harrison to discuss what changes need to happen for the Baltimore Police Department to have a greater immediate impact on this violence,” the mayor said. “I will also be determining what other agencies can bring to the table to bolster these efforts.”
Kim Love, 50, said sometimes she’s scared to walk outside her home on Beaufort Avenue. Love, who has lived there for six years, said neighbors were expecting to have a good time during the holiday — instead of three separate families mourning.
“We need strong punishment here. Accountability — we need that here. I know that there is only so much that Brandon Scott and the police commissioner can do, but they need to step up and do more,” Love said.
The police commissioner is not from here, she said, stressing that he doesn’t know Baltimore.
“We have qualified people here that know this city and can run this city. We need to get to the root of our killing and problem here for our city because our city is not growing,” she said.
Love said she feels the Central Park Heights neighborhood has not been prioritized because it’s predominantly Black. She recommends more programs to address the problems, including including turning vacant houses into after school programs as well as more mentorship that could de-escalate confrontations.
“We’re all fed up. We’re all tired,” she said. “One of my neighbors actually just moved. She still owns her house here, but she moved somewhere else.”
Warren Johnson, 66, and his brother-in-law, Melvin Blake, 76, who live in the 3300 block of Spaulding, said they’d like more police presence.
Blake said his neighbor told him someone tried to break into his 2005 blue Ford Explorer on Friday. The person broke a window of the van but ran as Blake stepped out of his house.
“The only time you see police presence around here is when something happens,” Blake said.
He said he’d like stricter punishments. These shootings affect mostly Black communities, he added, therefore they’ve been ignored.
“If Black people were killing white people like Black people [are] killing Black people, the law would change,” said Blake.
The neighborhood was desolate Monday afternoon. A man fixing a baby in a stroller in front of his house quickly declined to comment, saying, “I don’t know nothing, bro.” A group of at least five men setting up blue tents for a car wash also declined to comment.
Johnson said the triple shooting could have happened anywhere. But he agrees that more police presence would decrease further shootings. He said he heard shots around 9 p.m. on Sunday, but thought they were fireworks.
Harrison said officers were nearby when the call about the triple shooting came in. Additional officers were deployed in the district, using overtime, as part of a strategy aimed at deterring violence on the holiday weekend when people are expected to gather in crowds, he said.
“This district is one of those districts where we applied overtime to make sure officers are more visible, and we had more officers in this community and other parts [in] this district,” he said.
Memorial Day weekend has often seen increases in shootings and violence in Baltimore and other major cities. Last year, nine people were killed in Baltimore during the holiday weekend, despite residents being ordered to stay at home during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Harrison said at the time that the killings were not random and that “retaliatory violence” was to blame for some of the shootings.
So far this year, at least 137 people have been killed in Baltimore, according to data compiled by The Baltimore Sun, compared to 127 at this time last year. There have also been at least 267 non-fatal shootings, about 37 more than a year ago.
Homicide detectives asked anyone with information about the shootings to call them at 410-396-2100. People who want to make anonymous tips can call Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7LOCKUP.
Earlier Sunday, officers responded about 4:15 a.m. to the 1400 block of West Mulberry Street in West Baltimore after receiving ShotSpotter alerts, according to a police news release. They found a man suffering from multiple wounds to his upper body. Medics took the man to a hospital, where he died, according to police.
Police said one man was killed Friday night, and three others were killed Saturday.
Around 10:45 p.m. Friday, a 61-year-old man was shot multiple times in West Baltimore’s Union Square neighborhood. He died at a hospital.
Just after midnight Friday, a 21-year-old man walked into a hospital, having been shot multiple times in East Baltimore, police said. He also died at a hospital.
At 7:52 p.m. Saturday, police responded to West Baltimore’s Coppin Heights/Ash-Co-East neighborhood and found a 46-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to his head. He died at a hospital, police said.
Later Saturday night, police found a man shot in the head in South Baltimore. That man, who was 52 years old, died at a hospital.