A year ago, Timothy Moriconi told neighbors he was robbed at gunpoint, describing how he chased after the young men until they dropped his phone.
“Moral of the story is, be careful, no matter what neighborhood you’re in, always be aware of your surroundings,” Moriconi wrote in a neighborhood Facebook group.
On Thursday night, city police said, Moriconi, 25, was fatally shot while walking home from a relative’s house in South Baltimore’s Riverside neighborhood.
His death in one of the city neighborhoods least likely to see gun violence comes amid a recent spike in killings.
Officers were called around 7:30 p.m. to the 1200 block of Riverside Avenue, where officers found Moriconi with a single gunshot wound to his upper body. He was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Police said Friday morning they believed Moriconi might have died during a robbery, but police spokesman T.J. Smith later backed away from the theory, saying detectives continue to investigate.
Smith said investigators do not have any suspect information but said detectives are collecting surveillance video from residents in the neighborhood. The department is increasing the police presence in the area, he said.
He called Moriconi’s killing “a deplorable act of violence.”
Family for Moriconi did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
Moriconi worked as a contracts representative at Northrop Grumman, a company spokesman confirmed.
Moriconi’s Facebook page said he studied business at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and attended Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Va.
He described the attempted robbery last August on the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association Facebook page. He said his decision to chase the men was “probably a bad decision,” but added, “I couldn’t let them get away with it.”
On Friday morning, any remnants of the crime scene were cleared from a street where a string of passers-by walked dogs, pushed strollers or rode bikes.
Melva Turner, 71, who lives near where the shooting occurred, said she heard one gunshot, went to her door and saw a light-colored car speeding away. She said the victim was laying near a tree on the sidewalk, but she did not recognize him.
“He must have just been walking down the street,” she said. “I just feel so sorry for that guy. Nobody deserves to go like that. It’s sad.”
Turner said the shooting and other recent incidents near her home, including her car being broken into, have made her feel unsafe for the first time in the neighborhood she’s lived in all her life.
She doesn’t want to sit and hand out candy this year for Halloween — normally a busy event on her street, with many trick-or-treaters.
“I’m afraid to sit out here now,” she said from her front stoop.
Turner said she’d like to see more police officers in the neighborhood.
“The way crime is now, we need police officers walking the beat,” she said.
While homicides in the Riverside and nearby Locust Point neighborhoods are rare compared to other parts of the city that regularly see violence, they are not unheard of. In November, Alexander Wroblewski, 41, of Locust Point was killed resisting a robbery on his way home from the Royal Farms store on Key Highway. In 2010, a man was killed by acquaintances in the basement of a home.
Despite a week without a fatal shooting earlier in the month, there have now been 29 homicides in Baltimore in September. A male was killed Friday in the 1200 block of Druid Hill Avenue, near Dolphin Street in Upton.
The Riverside shooting was Thursday’s third killing. A man was fatally shot just after midnight in Pigtown, and another man was killed before 11 a.m. in the 5100 block of Govane Ave.
Police on Friday identified those victims as Kedric Moore, 26, and Jonathan Greenidge, 26, respectively.
They also identified three other men killed in shootings earlier this week:
» Anthony Raynor, 34, was killed on Sept. 25 in the 5100 block of Curtis Ave.
» Justin Williams-Harrison, 29, was killed Sept. 26 in the 200 block of S. Catherine St.
» Leon Burgess, 33, was killed Sept. 26 in the 1300 block of Stonewood Road.
City Councilman Eric Costello, who represents Riverside and went out to the crime scene Thursday night, said he’s heard from many residents who have expressed frustration about crime in the city.
“Residents are angry and frustrated and scared, and they’re sick of hearing the same excuses. I am in the same boat with them,” he said.
Costello said there needs to be more of a police presence in city neighborhoods.
“We don’t have the resources that we need,” he said.
The city council regularly holds hours-long hearings about the shortage of police, but “residents are sick of hearing why we don’t have those resources.”
“We’re all frustrated, we’re all angry. We’re scared,” Costello said. “We’re tired. We continue to get excuses for why we don’t have the police coverage.”
A recent staffing study conducted by the Police Foundation found that the police department has had a 26.6 percent vacancy rate in patrol positions, significantly higher than other areas within the department. The study found the department covers patrol needs with costly overtime.
The study was required under the consent decree reached between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice last year after a federal investigation found unconstitutional policing.
Each year, the city spends millions to cover the added labor costs. The department spent $47.2 million on overtime in the fiscal year that ended June 30, even though only $16 million was budgeted.
Anyone with information on the recent homicides is asked to call detectives at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7Lockup. Tips can also be texted to 443-902-4824.
Baltimore Sun reporter Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.