Mayor, Police Commissioner Discuss Recent Upswing In Violence
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Four shootings Monday night added to an already crippling weekend of violence in Baltimore. In the last few days, some 23 people have been injured or killed in the city. It’s a spree that has the mayor and police commissioner speaking out.
Derek Valcourt has a look at what’s happened and what officials want done about it.
They say the solution is tougher gun laws coming out of Annapolis. For now, the city violence is a source of frustration for city leaders.
A man was shot in the back near Bel Air Road and Frankford Avenue in Northeast Baltimore Monday night. Less than an hour later, a second man was shot in the foot on nearby Elmley Avenue. Soon after that, there were three more shootings on Greenmount, Broadway and Pimlico.
Monday’s five shootings were hot on the heels of 18 other people shot and stabbed over the weekend, including the stabbing death of a 24-year-old city Department of Public Works worker, who was ambushed by a group of men at a gas station.
It all leaves the police commissioner visibly frustrated with what he calls “bad guys with guns.”
“We should punch these guys in the mouth who are contributing to this violence. We should find out who they are and we should get on those guys right away,” said Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld.
Bealefeld says the shooting Friday night of a police detective is the perfect illustration of the problem with illegal guns in the city. The man they say was at the trigger was arrested for a handgun violation back in 2009 and spent only six months in jail.
“We have to do better,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
She says that’s exactly why she’s asking Annapolis lawmakers to set a minimum sentence of 18 months for those arrested with an illegal loaded firearm, following the lead of New York State, which set a three-year mandatory minimum.
“Their homicide rate went down by nearly 20 percent in just the first year, so we know that the minimum mandatory sentences work,” Rawlings-Blake said.
One of the shootings this weekend involved a 4-year-old boy. He found a gun in his home and shot himself.