Baltimore Police Department Director, Media Relations, T.J. Smith discusses overnight violence involving a 9-year-old girl.
A bullet grazed a 9-year-old girl Friday night in an evening of violence that left three men dead and several people injured.
The violence continued into Saturday, with a man fatally shot in the 1900 block of Vine St. in West Baltimore about 3:30 p.m. He died a short time later at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and police have no leads in the case.
Baltimore logged seven shootings overnight Friday, police said Saturday. The three men who died were killed in unrelated shootings for which police offered no motives, and the injury of the girl sparked outrage from police officials.
The uptick follows a week of relative calm in a city that is grappling with a surge in gun violence and is on pace to hit more than 300 killings this year. The girl was the second child to be shot as a bystander this month.
"It's one of the things that shocks the conscience," Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith said, calling the most recent shooter "a coward."
"That's not something we should ever get used to," Smith said. "There's rules to the game. And those of us who are very familiar with Baltimore know that sometimes there's bad-guy-on-bad-guy violence. And it's never acceptable, but when children are in the midst of something like this, that's a huge problem for all of us."
The 9-year-old was in the care of Kirk Butler, 45, when he was killed about 10 p.m. Friday in the Barclay neighborhood. Police said Butler appeared to be the target of the attack. The girl, who suffered a graze wound to her leg, was released from the hospital less than 24 hours after the shooting.
Earlier this month, a 10-year-old boy was one of three people hurt in a hail of gunfire in West Baltimore.
As rain fell Saturday afternoon, friends and relatives streamed into Butler's home on Barclay Street, near the end of a block that has a mix of well-tended homes and others that are vacant. Some of the vacant homes are boarded up, with pictures of brightly painted front doors with wreaths pasted across the abandoned doors.
Butler's family declined to speak with a reporter.
Other deaths and injuries were scattered around the city.
Romel Simms, 23, was killed about 10 p.m. Friday in the Mount Holly neighborhood. Police said a gunman emerged from a car that pulled up beside a group that included Simms in the 3800 block of Clifton Ave. Simms was hit multiple times as the gunman opened fire, police said.
Thomas Meehan, 26, of Dundalk was killed about 11 p.m. after being shot multiple times while sitting near a playground on the 6100 block of Fortview Way.
Another person injured by gunfire early Saturday was found sitting on the steps of the police's Western District station house about 1:45 a.m. Bleeding from both legs, the 25-year-old man told officers on which block he was shot and but offered no other details, police said.
Also in the Western District, another man was shot in what he described to police as an attempted robbery in the 2100 block of Ridgehill Ave. Police said the man, 20, told police he was smoking marijuana with friends on steps, and he was shot while running away from a stranger who walked up and said he was going to rob them.
In the Eastern District, a 28-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were injured in a shooting around midnight while sitting on the steps of a vacant home in the 2000 block of Kennedy Ave., police said.
A 34-year-old man at St. Agnes Hospital told police he was waiting for a ride in the Irvington neighborhood when he was struck by an apparent stray bullet fired during an argument between two men standing nearby, police said. The victim went to the hospital for treatment about 3 a.m.
Earlier Friday night, police reported that a 23-year-old man was shot in the leg and foot in the 2500 block of W. Baltimore St. after he was carjacked, police said. In a separate incident, a 43-year-old man was shot in the face and a 31-year-old man was shot in the leg in Brooklyn.
"Last night was a very rough night," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Saturday. The city, she said, was "like many other cities around the country" in facing violence and said little attention was paid to the week of relative calm around Labor Day weekend.
"We know we have violent repeat offenders with unfettered access to guns. We're going to continue to focus on them," she said.