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Deadly September Has Baltimore City Leaders Working To Curb Violence

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Rochelle Ritchie 370 x 278 Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Shocking homicide numbers this year have city leaders looking for ways to combat the growing number of murders. There have been almost 200 murders in 2013 and September is the second deadliest month this year.

Rochelle Ritchie reports a man was shot Monday night.

From stabbings to shootings, Baltimore City police have their hands full with murder investigations.

A distraught woman broke down in tears after a man was shot and killed on Tivoly Avenue in Northeast Baltimore.

“He was a really good friend of mine, like a nephew to me. It touched me really bad to see that happen to him,” said Kevin Hunt.

That shooting was a short distance from where another man was shot and killed earlier this week.

“We’ve had a number of officers out here in this area because we thought the tension was high,” said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

In the Violetville neighborhood, another man was stabbed to death on the same day after getting into a fight with his estranged wife’s boyfriend, Dennis Freeman. Freeman is now charged with first-degree murder.

Two homicides ended the month of September with 24 total, bringing the number of murders so far this year to 177.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is deeply frustrated.

“We’re focused like a laser on the small number of people causing a large part of the damage–the homicides, the non-fatal shootings,” she said.

Some people blame Baltimore City Police for the violence, and others blame the mayor, but some say the community is part of the problem.

“Last year, we had a meeting with citizens and tried to get people out to talk to law enforcement and maybe five people showed up,” said Doreion Colter.

Colter is part of a citizens’ watch program and says family members protecting their own adds to the violence.

“You don’t expect the person who is committing the crime or their parents or their aunt to come out and stand up against,” Colter said.

With the end of the year approaching and the number of murders still growing, the mayor says they’ll continue to be aggressive in pursuing and prosecuting.

“It’s clear that with the numbers we’ve had in September, our work is not done,” Rawlings-Blake said.

The mayor has already added additional prosecutors to the State’s Attorney’s Office in response to the crime.

June was the only month that had more murders than September.

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