By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Charges could come anytime against two survivors of a wild shootout with police officers in West Baltimore. It’s one of several troubling incidents, leading to beefed-up patrols.

Mike Hellgren has the latest efforts to stop the bloodshed.

Signs of the wild, West Baltimore shootout are easy to spot along Edmondson Avenue. It’s an area that’s seen an increase in murders.

And the terrifying gun battle between armed men and police only adds to the insecurity among those who call this neighborhood home.

“It just makes people on edge about a lot of things, and the crime rate seems like it’s going up some,” said Kevin Adams, of West Baltimore.

“I heard it.  I knew it was close,” said John Jackson. “At first, I thought it was firecrackers, but when I heard the pop-pop-pop-pop-pop, I knew it wasn’t firecrackers. I looked out the door and they were over here.”

Here’s what police say happened:  Officers, who are part of a beefed-up foot patrol, encountered three armed men in a Mercedes who had opened fire on someone else.  Those officers then fired their weapons, killing one of the men, and injuring two more.

It follows other incidents not far away in recent weeks, including the shooting of a child and a grisly triple murder.

“What I’m asking officers to do is go in and engage in these violent areas. We’ve seen our felony arrests go up.  We’ve seen our gun seizures go up, and they’re taking on some tough characters in very tough areas,” said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

You can see the remnants of the violence that was left behind.  The window was shot out, glass is on the ground, and there’s a bullet hole in the front fender.

Anton Pridget runs a ministry steps from the shooting scene.

“The presence of gunshots, you hear ambulances daily.  It’s like it’s a part of the neighborhood now when you hear that type of thing. I wouldn’t feel safe, and I don’t feel safe,” Pridget said.

Police plan to continue their visible patrols, digging deeper to stop what has been a bloody year so far in West Baltimore.

“We will not tolerate this violence in this area, and we will not allow citizens’ lives to continue to be taken,” Batts said.

There have been nine police-involved shootings so far this year in Baltimore, compared to 15 in all of last year.


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