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Father of four among victims killed in recent spate of violence in Baltimore City

Corey Dodd told his wife to stay home and rest with their 3-year-old and 3-week-old daughters, while he took their 5-year-old twins to school Friday.

After he dropped the boy and the girl at school and pulled up outside their home, she heard gunshots and ran outside to find him on the street, not breathing. She waved down a police officer in the neighborhood, but her husband was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

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“I’m taking it hard, but I have to be strong for our kids,” said Marissa Dodd, 25, holding the infant in her arms at a family member’s home Tuesday.

Her husband is among the latest homicide victims during an especially violent weekend in Baltimore. Baltimore police reported 14 shootings in Baltimore from Friday to Monday over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. Four people died and 12 were injured.

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The violence continued Tuesday, with another homicide and a shooting, police said.

Two men were killed and one injured Tuesday in Baltimore City, continuing a particularly violent stretch.

Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said the department is looking into whether the sudden rash of violence is connected.

“It could be a combination of things,” he said.

The department is working to “increase our tactical deployment capability” to be able to move where the violence moves, Tuggle said.

“We can provide that very high visibility and try to deter it where we can, utilizing quality investigations, and go after some of these folks,” he said.

It was one of the deadliest MLK weekends in recent memory. The start to the year is also one of the most violent since 2012. There have been 61 nonfatal shootings so far, well up from previous years. There were 39 shot and injured by this time last year, 57 in 2017, and 39 in 2016.

The police also reported 21 homicides so far this month. There were 26 total last January.

Sustaining last year’s decline in violence will be the top priority for New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, who is expected to take over the job in Baltimore in the coming weeks, serving first as acting police commissioner until his appointment is approved by the City Council.

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Tuggle said he’s been in regular communication with Harrison.

“We talk about crime. He gets the same report that I get every morning,” Tuggle said. “When I meet with the staff, we make sure that he is getting the information that I get.”

Mayor Catherine Pugh said despite the recent increase in violence, she and other city officials remain committed to a holistic approach to crime.

“We know we’ve experienced an uptick in shootings, the highest we’ve experienced in a while,” said Pugh, who attributed the rise to the number of illegal guns on the streets and drug disputes between rival groups.

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Pugh has touted the violence reduction initiative that focuses on struggling neighborhoods and finding ways to bring additional services to address broader issues, from trash to street lighting. She and Tuggle joined a group of Police Department and city agency leaders Tuesday afternoon on a walk through the streets in the East Baltimore neighborhood of Ellwood Park, led by Southeastern District Commander Capt. Tomecha S. Brown.

“We’re sending a message that we’re as engaged as we’ve ever been,” Pugh said at the end of the walk as the sky turned pink. “We’re concerned about communities where this is an uptick in violence, which is why we are over here. We will keep working at it, and keep focused.”

Police commissioner nominee Michael Harrison is making his first visit to Baltimore since being named to the job. But the mayor's office says he has no official business scheduled and will spend the time moving his life north from New Orleans, where he's retired as head of the police department.

She stopped in corner stores, looked down trash-strewn alleys, one blocked by a soiled mattress, and greeted residents on the sidewalk.

“I know you all are working as hard as you can to stem this tide of violence and I really am grateful for this whole initiative,” she told the group. “Let’s keep hope alive. We can do this.”

The recent spate of violence has touched multiple neighborhoods.

There were shootings from St. George’s Avenue in northeast Baltimore to Bayard Street in the city’s Southern police district.

Dodd was shot at 10:32 a.m. Friday in the 1800 block of N. Fulton Ave. in Sandtown-Winchester.

Hours later Friday, another man was injured in a shooting in the 2600 block of E. Preston St. in the Berea neighborhood in East Baltimore.

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On Saturday, police said Melvin Harper, 51, of Cambridge on the Eastern Shore, was shot and killed around 11 a.m. in the 2600 block of Ridgely St. in South Baltimore.

The same day, at 4:40 p.m., police arrived after residents heard gunshots in the 2500 block of Edgecombe Circle North. Davonte Robinson, 26, was taken to a hospital with gunshots to his body and died of his injuries.

Robinson’s death came more than two years after he was shot on a summer afternoon near Gilmor Homes, setting off a round of retaliatory violence that would take the life of rapper Lor Scoota. Police said video of the 2016 shooting shows Fred Catchings, a childhood friend of Scoota’s, shooting Robinson; hours later, police found Scoota’s car crashed — he had been shot dead inside.

Also Saturday, a 33-year old man was shot in the leg on East Heath Avenue in South Baltimore as two people were attempting to rob the victim, police said.

Early Sunday morning, a 24-year-old woman walked into a hospital with a gunshot wound in her leg. She is believed to have been shot in the 3800 block of Cottage Ave. in northwest Baltimore, police said.

A little after 4 a.m., police said a 26-year-old man was shot in the 1900 block of Harman Ave. in Southwest Baltimore.

A 22-year-old man walked into a hospital after being shot in the leg in the 1100 block of E. North Ave. at about 6 p.m. Sunday.

The independent monitoring team overseeing Baltimore’s consent decree is calling for an internal affairs investigation into the Gun Trace Task Force scandal, including investigating officers implicated in the case who have not been charged with a crime.

At 9:29 p.m. Sunday, a 19-year-old with a gunshot wound to his arm walked into a local hospital. Police said the victim was getting off a bus at East Belvedere Avenue and The Alameda, in northeast Baltimore, when two armed men wearing ski masks attempted to rob him. The victim had only a cellphone and refused to unlock it for the robbers. He was shot as he tried to run away.

About an hour later at 10:30 p.m., a 21-year-old man and a 22-year-old man were shot as they left a bar in the 1100 block of Bayard St. in South Baltimore. One man was shot in the face and hands, and the second was shot in the chest.

But Monday — Martin Luther King Day itself — was the city’s most violent day of the weekend.

Police said a 24-year-old man was shot in his torso while leaving a club in the 400 block of N. Paca St., near downtown.

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Three other men were injured in separate shootings, then, at 2:27 p.m. Monday, police found a man with gunshot wounds in the 4200 block of St. Georges Ave. in northeast Baltimore. He later died at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Police have yet to identify the man.

Marissa Dodd said she and her family are still trying to process their loss. She said she needs to fully recover from her recent childbirth, and then she plans to move her children out of West Baltimore.

A monitor overseeing reforms of the Baltimore Police Department says the dysfunction within the agency is so deep and widespread that it will take years longer than anticipated to root it out. Kenneth Thompson testified before the House of Delegates' judiciary committee in Annapolis.

She said the family had planned to move wherever her husband found permanent work. He recently finished a program to earn his commercial driver's license. He had been working at his father’s hauling company.

“He was a family man,” said his father, Richard Dodd, 63, who added he did not know why anyone would take his son’s life. “He didn’t live in the streets.”

Police have not identified a suspect or a motive in Corey Dodd’s shooting.

Marissa Dodd said the couple’s 3-year-old daughter always waited at the door to greet her dad, but he never returned Friday.

“I’ve told them that Daddy’s gone,” she said. “He’s not coming back.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Liz Bowie and Christine Zhang contributed to this article.

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