Three people were arrested for disorderly conduct Monday night after police closed several blocks and commanded a crowd of hundreds to disperse during a gathering to remember slain Baltimore rapper Lor Scoota.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the West Baltimore vigil was peaceful until a small number of people antagonized officers.
"There came a time when a few agitators decided to throw bricks and bottles at police officers," Davis said. "That's not going to happen in Baltimore."
The vigil began about 5 p.m. and by 8 p.m. the crowd had swelled and spilled into Pennsylvania Avenue.
Then two dozen police cars and vans arrived and filled the street. Police ordered the crowd to disperse. The people ignored their commands. Shortly after 8:30 p.m., more than 40 officers formed a line, shoulder to shoulder, across Pennsylvania Avenue. That began a standoff of more than two hours: officers slowly advancing, the crowd taunting and backing up.
It ended peacefully about 11 p.m. No one was injured.
"We got through tonight in the best of possible ways," Davis said.
During the standoff, some men confronted the police line and shouted taunts at officers. One man danced. Some officers wore helmets and armor.
"This is uncalled for," said Aaron Sims, 24, of the police response. "It's crazy."
Kesharna Horne, who said she was a friend of Lor Scoota's, urged people to go home. "Let's go, ya'll. You are disrespecting Scoota," she said.
Tyriece Watson, known as Lor Scoota, was shot in his car on Moravia Road in Northeast Baltimore about 7 p.m. Saturday. He had just left a peace rally at Morgan State University.
The killing of the 23-year-old musician shocked fans and prompted gatherings in the city on Sunday, and online eulogies from rapper Meek Mill, NBA player Will Barton and others.
Watson was targeted in the shooting, police said.
"The person clearly must've known where he was," police spokesman T.J. Smith said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Police continue to search for his killer.
"We do not have an arrest. We do not have a suspect," Smith said. "We are effectively where we were on Saturday."
Still, the department has received many tips, Smith said. He called for anyone with information to contact police — and especially to send pictures or videos from the peace rally.
"If you were recording anything," Smith said, "share that video with investigators."
Hours after the news conference, tensions seethed during the standoff with officers. Some men in masks rode dirt bikes past the impassive police line.
Some claimed officers raised their guns.
Again, Horne urged calm.
"They're not going to shoot ya'll, trust me," she urged. "Get on the sidewalk, please."
Shortly before 10:30 p.m., Democratic mayoral nominee Catherine Pugh arrived. She walked among the crowd, softly asking people to leave. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was monitoring the situation closely.
"Is that the mayor?" people whispered, and asked Pugh for a picture.
"Please, please, go home," she said. "We're just trying to get everyone to clear the area."
Still, some young men lingered. They said it was their obligation to Watson's memory to gather on the block where the rapper grew up.
"Today was a good day," Mark Dahost said. "We all came out to celebrate a life."
"This night here wasn't supposed to happen."
Police asking for tips in Lor Scoota case
Anyone with photos, videos or information related to the killing of Tyriece Watson, known as Lor Scoota, can text police, 443-902-4824, or email, email@example.com. People can also call the detectives at 410-396-2100.