Organizers celebrate first Baltimore Ceasefire weekend without killings, 'keep trudging forward'

They say the third time’s a charm, and so it was in Charm City this weekend, when the third Ceasefire weekend went the way organizers hoped — with no homicides in Baltimore over the designated 72-hour period.

“We feel just really excited and proud of Baltimore,” said Erricka Bridgeford, one of the organizers of the grassroots anti-violence effort. “For so many people to set their intentions together, and then to see it happen, I think it gives Baltimore a needed boost of self-esteem.”

There were two non-fatal shootings over the weekend, and a 27-year-old man who was shot on Thursday died on Saturday. But there were no homicides as a result of violence between Friday and Sunday, police confirmed.

Bridgeford and other organizers have claimed victory after the past two Ceasefire weekends as well, citing increased community dialogue around violence and Baltimore’s ability to overcome it, despite bullets occasionally piercing the peace. (There were two homicides during the first Ceasefire weekend and one during the second.)

The fact that no one was killed this time around made it all the better, Bridgeford said, and participants are as committed as ever to keeping the movement going.

“We’re going to continue to call Ceasefires. We’re going to continue to do life-affirming events. We’re going to continue to do events helping people get the resources they need. We’re going to continue talking to people about addressing the root causes of violence,” she said. “You celebrate while you keep trudging forward.”

The weekend was not without shootings.

A 20-year-old man was shot in the back at about 12:26 p.m. Friday as he was driving in the 1200 block of Woodbourne Ave., in the Cameron Village neighborhood in North Baltimore, police said.

A 21-year-old woman was grazed by a bullet in the buttocks while walking in the 500 block of N. Glover St., in the McElderry Park neighborhood in East Baltimore, police said.

The 27-year-old man who died on Saturday had been shot in the head at about 1:12 p.m. Thursday in the 1500 E. Lexington St. in the Dunbar-Broadway neighborhood of Southeast Baltimore.

Police thanked the community organizers of the Ceasefire weekend for their help in addressing violence.

“We are very appreciative of the efforts of all of the members of the Ceasefire movement. This is a collective effort to bring about change and attention to the violence we experience in our city,” said T.J. Smith, the police department’s chief spokesman, in a statement he posted online just as Sunday concluded at midnight. “Success is measured by the continued growth of this grassroots movement that has garnered worldwide attention. Their commitment to stopping the violence is commendable and necessary as we all continue to move forward to provide an even safer Baltimore. It takes all of us.”

There have been 27 homicides so far in 2018. There were 341 last year, a per-capita record.

krector@baltsun.com

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