Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Like a warzone. With dozens of shootings in parts of Baltimore since just the start of summer, and a number of people dead, city police are taking action.
Derek Valcourt has more on what’s being done to try and end the bloodshed.
Three people were shot overnight–two of them are dead–even as police were busy serving warrants and making arrests.
Police say witness cooperation led them to arrest 24-year-old Cush Wright El for a Sunday morning triple shooting along Arbutus Avenue, 23-year-old Devon Baker and 17-year-old Lamonte Sherman for a Wednesday shooting on Northbourne and 23-year-old Ricky Fair for a Friday shooting on North Smallwood Street.
Those arrests come after a spike in shootings for the last six days.
As of Friday, Baltimore had 102 homicides for the year. But now, that number is now up to 114. The number of people who were shot but survived went from 170 to 190.
“We have to send a message that we don’t have a tolerance for it,” said Commissioner Anthony Batts, Baltimore City Police.
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts called before city council members, who questioned the police response to the crime wave.
“We’re not deploying those active community people enough,” said Rikki Spector.
Batts has ordered increased patrols in affected neighborhoods.
Officers and trainees have gone door to door asking for witnesses to come forward. And WJZ was there as police executed dozens of search warrants in East Baltimore, seizing guns, drugs and ammunition.
Police–indicating gang activity appears to be responsible for some of the shootings.
“One violent incident often begets many others simply because of retaliation,” said Rob Weinhold.
Former city cop turned consultant Rob Weinhold says police need help from citizens to stop the violence.
“Is there a risk in reporting criminal behavior and ultimately testifying against a criminal? Yes,” Weinhold said.
“But I think there’s a much higher risk to not do anything. Let the criminal element get the stranglehold on your community and you become a prisoner in your own home. And you don’t get an opportunity to live, work and raise your family the way that you like to.”
The police commissioner also removed the department’s top spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, over what he called “terrible messaging” about the spike in crime over the weekend. He says the department needs to do a better job communicating how they are responding to crimes.
Baltimore police have also called on state and transit police for help patrolling city streets on the weekends.
Click here, for an expert’s opinion on the recent crime spike.