Man fatally shot inside overturned car in Mount Vernon; homicides spike to 14 this year

A man was found shot multiple times inside an overturned car in Mount Vernon early Saturday and later died, marking Baltimore's 14th homicide of 2014, only 11 days into the year.

Police said they were called for a car crash in the 100 block of E. Madison St. in the Mount Vernon neighborhood around 4 a.m., and found an overturned car. Inside was Ricky Mellerson, 28, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, police said. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.


Police are investigating the fatal shooting and released no information Saturday about a possible motive or suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

Homicides have spiked in the new year in Baltimore, following an 8 percent increase in killings in 2013 over the year before, a four-year high. Three people were killed Friday, including a carjacking victim whose suspected attacker later barricaded himself in a Charles North nonprofit building and took his own life.

The Saturday killing shocked some residents of Mount Vernon, typically one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. By 9:30 a.m., the overturned car had been removed, but a Honda Accord with serious damage to its rear remained parked on the street in the middle of the block. One of its back windows had been blown out and debris from the crash littered the area. Crime scene tape was left tied to railings.

Dee Ajepe, 26, lives around the corner from the scene. Her eyes widened when she heard about the shooting, which she said was the first she had heard about in the area she considers safe.

"Oh my God," she said. "I mean, this has never happened before, this is the first time. It's scary."

Ajepe said she had been working overnight and had not heard the shots or the crash.

She added: "I hope [the victim] rests in peace."

Police also released the identity of another person killed this week: Dejuan Willis, 17, fatally stabbed in Southwest Baltimore. A man fatally shot in Northeast Baltimore on Friday evening has not yet been identified.

Several other homicides in the new year have involved victims found inside cars.

Ben Broeking, 29, said his girlfriend's car was the rear-ended Honda Accord. When they went out to inspect the damage, neighbors told them another car had been struck directly and pushed into the back of the Honda, he said. He called the incident "jarring."

"This guy must have been flying up that road to get that kind of momentum and then flip," Broeking said.

Dustin Morris, another Mount Vernon resident, also said the incident was disturbing, particularly since the week was "especially bloody."

"When there's a murder not just in your city but a couple blocks from your house, it's very scary," said Morris, 25. "It's surprising to hear that it happened here, but then, when you live in Baltimore, there's an expectation ... you have to be cautious and aware in our city."