Baltimore’s mayor and top police official held a press conference Monday to announce the arrests of 13 people on murder charges for crimes committed last year and in the early weeks of 2020.
The announcement by Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison included some information previously released, such as the the names of at least seven people who had already been identified in recent weeks.
Those included Terrance Patterson, 29, who was charged two weeks ago with killing Carmen Rodriguez, 35, three days before Christmas during a robbery at the Kim Deli & Grocery on North Kenwood Avenue.
Still, the conference was a chance for Young and Harrison to offer citizens what they called some positive news following a year in which 348 people were killed in the city and the department closed the previous year with a 32 percent homicide clearance rate—a significant drop from the department’s previous years and below the national average.
Harrison touted other accomplishments by the department, including gun confiscations and arrests by the Warrant Apprehension Task Force. Harrison said the department has taken 157 guns off the streets of Baltimore neighborhoods and have logged 80 gun arrests.
But the arrests were the centerpiece of the day. Harrison said police charged Devon Bynum, 16, in the double-homicide of Ayranna James, 22, and Courtney Richardson, 21. James and Richardson were shot and killed just before 3 a.m. on Nov. 14 in the 1800 block of McHenry St. in the Southwest Baltimore’s Carrollton Ridge neighborhood.
Harrison said the department is not using any new tactics, but has “stepped up” its efforts.
Additionally, Harrison cited an “increase” in resident participation that has helped find answers to unsolved murders.
“That is very pleasing but we need more. People are coming forward to help us which is exactly what we want and is exactly what community policing is about,” Harrison said.
“We understand the importance of these cases and will continue to leverage partnership with our local state and federal partners as we all work together to reduce crime to make Baltimore a safer city.”
As of Monday, Baltimore has recorded 23 homicides for this year — a number Harrison says is “not a good” number, but he believes the department has shown progress and increased its efforts to solve murder cases and make arrests.
This includes the department adding 14 more detectives, which allows more “capacity and more time” to work on homicide cases. It is paying off, Harrison said..
“This is a good start, but I have made it clear to him that I expect to maintain this momentum and to continue to hold accountable violent repeat offenders," Young said.
“I am adamant that we must do more to bring justice to those who have been impacted by violence in our community,” Young said.