Every day, Maurice "Mookie" Braham stopped at Kat Newton's corner store in Howard Park for Sprite, Pop-Tarts and sometimes Jolly Rancher candies.
Newton said Braham had become such a fixture that other customers would ask about him when he wasn't there.
About 7:40 p.m. Thursday, as Newton's husband was closing the shop on Gwynn Oak Avenue near Liberty Heights Avenue, nine shots rang out. Then he heard a car "screech off," Newton said.
Braham was one of three men killed in Baltimore on Thursday night, and one of 12 killed since Sunday across the city.
About half an hour after Braham was shot, police were called to another fatal shooting in the 2400 block of E. Lafayette St. in East Baltimore. Police on Friday identified the victim as Joel McCullum, 26, of the 900 block of Belgian Ave.
And just before 10 p.m. Thursday, as police investigated at the scene of Braham's killing, another man was shot and killed around the corner in the 4700 block of Haddon Ave. Police identified the man as Anthony Hornes, 34, of the 3800 block of Ferndale Ave.
Police spokesman Detective Donny Moses said Friday that homicide detectives are investigating whether the killings in Howard Park are connected. Besides Braham and Hornes, a third man — Carlos Younger, 24 — was killed there Tuesday night.
"It raises our eyebrows," Moses said.
Since opening their shop, called "The Yellow Store," in November, Newton said she and her husband have grown to know many of their customers well and that many tell her about the latest in their lives. She said customers gave the store its name for the yellow awning out front that was left by the previous owner.
Braham, she said, was one of her first customers.
"He was one that looked out for me constantly," Newton said. "He didn't deserve" to be killed.
At the liquor store next to Newton's shop, Devin Ford said he's lost count of the number of people he has known who have been shot on the block.
His friend, Keith Williams, 52, said people end up congregating in the block because there is nowhere else in the neighborhood to go. Many of the businesses, like barbershops and a bar that once offered a spot to socialize, have closed.
The neighborhood recently got its first grocery store, a ShopRite, more than a decade after the Howard Park Super Pride grocery closed.
"They closed down a lot of stuff," Williams said. "Now you just hanging on the corner. The money is coming in for selling drugs. It's crazy."
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Shah Saduzai, who owns the New York Fried Chicken carryout at the corner, said he believes the area has become more violent in recent months. He said young men are constantly hanging out on the corner.
In the past two months, his front windows were broken and he had to replace them.
When a young woman recently knocked over items in a small store he also owns next door, he said it took police more than 30 minutes to arrive.
"The police are scared too," he said. "Especially this year, it is very bad."