Officials vow to keep fighting violence as homicides spike
BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s mayor and police commissioner said Monday that they’ll keep looking for ways to suppress violence after a string of deadly days pushed the city’s homicide count far beyond last year’s pace.
The Baltimore Sun reported Monday night that seven people had been killed since Saturday, bringing the homicide total for the year to 107. That’s a 17% increase from the 91 homicides recorded by the same point last year, when the city reached a total of 335 killings.
The string of shootings includes what Mayor Brandon Scott called a “mass shooting” during a large gathering at Carroll Park on Sunday night. Four people were shot and one of them died.
Scott said he’s working with Police Commissioner Michael Harrison to come up with answers to an uptick in violence he called “unacceptable.”
“We also have to be better as citizens,” Scott added. “We have to look in the mirror and have a self-check as a city of what we’re going to allow to be happening on our streets.”
Sunday’s park shooting, which investigators believe was sparked by an argument between two groups, was one of nine shootings police reported in a 24-hour period. In another incident early Monday, officials also said a man visiting from Israel for his cousin’s wedding was fatally shot during a robbery.
In defense of the department’s deployment strategy, Harrison said officers were nearby when some of the shootings happened.
“We had a robust deployment strategy for the weekend and some of the incidents, we had officers a couple blocks away and responded very quickly,” he said. “But as I’ve stated many times in the past, this violence that we see far too often ... occurs when individuals decide to pick up a gun and then to later use that gun to solve their conflicts or to enact revenge on someone because of a previous conflict.”
Scott added that “a simple argument should not lead to someone dying.”