Burnes Garrison, 60, was tucked soundly asleep in bed at her Patterson Park home. It was the middle of the night after all, about 2:30 on a Saturday morning.
Then the shooting started.
Garrison recalled hearing five shots, and that they scared her. Only later would she learn that three women had been shot, one of them fatally.
The women were attacked blocks away from — and shortly after visiting — Patchase, a social club in the neighborhood. They had been in a dispute outside the club, according to police.
Baltimore Police have still not identified the victims — ages 23, 27 and 28. Garrison believes the one who was killed was her neighbor, though she didn’t know her name.
“I don’t know who to blame or what to blame, but all I know is we need to keep praying," Garrison said. “We are just going to have to keep praying for our young people because we are trying everything. We are trying everything that we know.”
Garrison did not know where the woman were headed, but the gunfire and car crash were loud and clear.
Police said the incident that led to the shooting happened several blocks away, at a social club at the 1100 block of N. Patterson Park, at the corner of East Chase. They said the women had some kind of argument, but provided no details. No one has been arrested.
The Patchase Social Club has been a fixture in the neighborhood for over a decade, its owner and the local city council member said. Although police did not identify Patchase by name, its address matches the police description.
The owner, who asked not to be identified because he didn’t want to be connected to the violent incident, confirmed the women were in his club but said an argument started outside, after they had left the building. The city’s liquor board confirmed the business owns a valid liquor license.
A review of police calls compiled on the city database Open Baltimore confirms that police have rarely if ever been called to block housing the Patchase social club over the past 18 months, and the owner said he hasn’t had any trouble. Because the city database documenting all calls for service uses only city blocks, and not exact addresses, it is impossible to determine which calls were for Patchase.
A sign on the front door of Patchase states “members only” and announces it is open only to people who were ages 35 or older.
The owner said the age restriction is more of a deterrent, part of his effort to keep the club quiet and respectful. The sign also warns visitors that they must have belt for their pants, can’t wear hoodies and bans “lame, tacky tee shirts.”
He hopes the new year will bring a slowing of violence spreading across the city.
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“It’s a shame and it is happening everywhere. It seems like no one cares anymore,” the owner said.
Councilwoman Shannon Sneed agreed.
“It is totally unacceptable. This is not something that is normal. I am hoping that we all will step up and work together to really come up with a plan and put it in the forefront that we want crime to stop in Baltimore," Sneed said.
Monday afternoon, community activist Tyree Colion arrived to spray-paint and designate the block of Patterson Park Avenue as a “No Shoot Zone."
He started near some boarded up buildings, using several different colors to decorate the concrete sidewalk. Balloons tied to the sign floated just in front of his No Shoot Zone. Colion has been doing this across Baltimore for years.
“This one right here I think I did for the most cowardly situation has happened. I think this is simply cowardly because this woman was murdered for some words, over an argument in the club,” Colion said as he designated the block as No Shoot Zone 203.