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Crime

Teenager charged with murder in shooting of Mervo High School junior

A 17-year-old boy was charged Saturday with first-degree murder in the death of a Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School student, according to a statement from Baltimore police officials Saturday evening.

The suspect was not named in the shooting of another 17-year-old boy on Sept. 2 after class let for the final day of the first week of school in the city, violence that shocked and saddened the community. It also led to calls by Mayor Brandon Scott “to do the tough work” of teaching “compassion and accountability” to young people.

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Police identified the victim as Jeremiah Brogden, who was given CPR on the scene by Baltimore school police officers and transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

School police caught the suspect and said they recovered a handgun. Officials said Friday the suspect was a student from another Baltimore City school.

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Baltimore police arrived at the school in the 3600 block of Tivoly Avenue at just before 3 p.m. after reports of a shooting. Homicide detectives have taken over the investigation.

The juvenile suspect is being held without bail at a Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services facility.

Brogden was a junior who played running back for Mervo’s football team. His mentors described him as a smart and popular student athlete whose death has shocked his community.

Brogden previously attended the Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, a charter school for boys in the fourth through eighth grades.

“He was a bright, optimistic, cheerful, kind and generous young man who loved sports and particularly the game of football,” said Jack Pannell, founder of Baltimore Collegiate. Pannell described the school as a “sanctuary for Black and brown boys.”

“He just stands out as a remarkable member of our community,” he said. “Our hearts pour out to his family.”

Baltimore Collegiate Athletic Director Evan Singleton was the dean of students when Brogden was a student at the charter school and coached him in basketball. “So much potential, as a person, then also as a student athlete. He was arguably the most athletic kid I’d ever seen as far as natural speed and size,” Singleton said.

Singleton described Brogden as a natural leader who was friends with kids all over the city.

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Jeremiah Brogdon is #12, highlighted. He played basketball at Baltimore Collegiate. Photo provided by Evan Singleton, coach

He acted as a big brother not just to his two younger brothers, but to other kids too, watching after his brother … and his friends when they all rode the bus together. “He was the man of the house,” Singleton said.

Brogden was wise beyond his years, a child who enjoyed talking to adults. “Some of the administrators got very, very close with him over the years,” Singleton said.

At the same time, he was just a kid who loved hip-hop and rap, kept his white Air Forces fresh and acted silly in videos.

“When it comes to Baltimore Collegiate, he was the epitome of somebody that came in not in the best situation, but by the time he graduated he made so many proud, from advancing his reading scores to his character improving, to understanding what it means to be a student athlete and a student leader,” Singleton said. “It’s a shock to the community.”

“We cannot continue to live in a city where this just becomes commonplace,” Pannell said. “We just can’t.”

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Just after the shooting, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said that the suspect had approached the male victim in a parking lot behind the school and they got into a heated encounter before the suspect fired multiple rounds.

“This is an extremely tragic situation, beyond tragic, happening on the grounds of a school in the beginning of the school year,” Harrison said at the time.

Monday was the first day of school for the city’s public school students.

Nearby residents described hearing several shots and then seeing students flee from the rear of the school on Tivoly Avenue toward a nearby bus stop at The Alameda and 35th Street.

The mayor, a Mervo graduate, had planned to visit the school Friday afternoon for a scheduled football game, though all after-school activities were canceled.

He posted a tweet Saturday evening to express his hurt over the loss of a student who lost the chance to grow into his full potential. But he also issued a plea to the community to continue and add to efforts to engage young Baltimoreans and help them learn other means of handling disputes.

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“My administration and I will continue to do the tough work. But Baltimore, the truth is we need each and every one of you to engage in this critically important work,” Scott said.

“Our children need our time, energy and love. They need us to teach them compassion and accountability to show them how to love and respect each other,” he said. “They need us to help them see there is a better way to resolve conflicts outside of picking up a gun. We can’t be content to just sit and be content about what is happening, we must get involved. Organizations and people across Baltimore do this work every day. I’m asking all of Baltimore to join us in the fight for the soul of our children – and the future of Baltimore.”

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Mervo and other schools in the region have had other violent incidents in recent years. Near the end of the last school year, two Mervo students were stabbed by a classmate at lunch.

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Last March, an 18-year-old was injured in a shooting outside Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in East Baltimore. In 2015, a 17-year-old student was fatally stabbed by a classmate in the Renaissance Academy, and in 2008, a 15-year-old was fatally stabbed at William H. Lemmel Middle School.

A shooting also happened in a parking lot at Catonsville High School in Baltimore County last February, injuring a 16-year-old student. Two other Catonsville High students were charged.

School officials said counselors will be available to students and staff at Mervo. Grief and loss support also will be offered Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Monday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Weinberg Y in Waverly at 900 East 33rd St., according to a post on Mervo’s Instagram account. Students and staff may also call Roberta’s House at 844-227-3478.

“We let them know it is OK to be upset,” said Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises at a news conference Friday evening. “It is OK to have to have to talk to people because this is not normal for any of us.”


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