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Fatal Shooting Marks Baltimore City’s 200th Murder This Year

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A broad daylight shooting on a Baltimore street corner becomes the city’s 200th murder of the year.

Derek Valcourt has details on the crime and what police are doing to stop the violence.

Already there are more murders in Baltimore than last year and we still have one month to go.

In Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, lifelong residents like Donald Smith have watched violence on the streets get worse.

“Every day you go out of your house, you got to be aware of your surroundings and whatnot ’cause you never know,” said Smith.

Just blocks from his home Saturday night, a 22-year-old man was gunned down right here outside of Club Paradise at the corner of Laurens and North Carey Street. It’s Baltimore’s 200th murder of the year, leaving another makeshift memorial in a neighborhood that’s already seen plenty.

“This year’s homicide numbers are tragic, simply put tragic,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Rawlings-Blake spoke out after shootings in several neighborhoods earlier this week saw the homicide rate surpass last year.

It has been especially violent along Greenmount Avenue, where in the last week alone a total of six people have been shot. One of them, a 16-year-old boy, was murdered.

All this crime is too much for young guys like Rakeem Rose.

“You gotta watch what you do and be careful because it’s getting real dangerous. People are dying every day over senseless stuff,” said Rose.

Back in Sandtown, Donald Smith knows what he wants from police.

“They need to walk the area more,” said Smith.

New Police Commissioner Anthony Batts agrees. He’s pulling more officers from administrative duties and putting them back on beat, and in some areas, foot patrol.

“That’s not the problem,” said recently laid-off dad, Luther Thomas, “It’s jobs, man. We need jobs.”

He thinks the solution to stopping crime involves more than just policing.

“Nobody making no money. Jobs is shutting you down, laying you off. I mean it’s tough out here,” said Thomas.

The victim in Saturday night’s Sandtown shooting has been identified as 22-year-old James Johnson, but so far, police say they have no motives or suspects in his killing.

Last year, Baltimore’s 197 murders were the lowest in the city since 1978.

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