Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)— City police reach a milestone–taking their 1,000th gun of the year off the streets. Despite the accomplishment, the bloodshed continues.
Investigator Mike Hellgren digs deeper into the challenges ahead.
City police say they will continue to focus on gun crimes and violent offenders. The mayor says it’s no cause for celebration, but it is an accomplishment she’s highlighting.
There have been 1,000 guns taken off the streets of Baltimore this year. The mayor and commissioner held a press conference Thursday trumpeting the accomplishment at the crime scene.
“We are again relentless in our pursuit to make sure that every neighborhood in our city is a safer neighborhood and that Baltimore becomes one of the safest big cities in the country,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
“I want to see a thousand cases solved,” said Daphne Alston, mother of murdered son.
Alston knows firsthand the impact of gun violence. Her son was murdered five years ago. She counsels with other mothers like her throughout Maryland.
“I’m so proud to be the mother of Tariq Alston because we’re changing the face of this crime,” Alston said. ”It’s that close to you now. It’s no longer someone else’s backyard. It’s right here in front of any one of us right now.”
Within hours after the police announcement, there were four separate shootings across Baltimore, including one in Edmondson Village. Most of the victims were young men in their early 20s.
“Why are we counting? Are we counting to see if the commissioner is going to do a good job, if the mayor’s going to do a good job? It’s not one person’s responsibility,” Alston said.
City police, who are dealing with what the commissioner calls a slight spike in violent crime, have started extensive new foot patrols, which they credited for that 1,000th gun.
“The horrific moment when someone broke into their house and violated their home, it was a good thing our officers were there,” said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.
Alston believes the solutions run deeper.
“You have to come out and you have to be better parents and you have to see what your children are doing and where they’re going. That’s the bottom line,” Alston said.
The number of murders so far in the city this year have surpassed that of last year.
Police arrested 19-year-old Quincy Holmes in the 1,000th gun arrest in Park Heights. They say he broke into a home and tried to assault the woman inside.