BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Save our youth–that’s the mission of city leaders, including the Baltimore City Police Department, after seven teenagers have been murdered this year.
Rochelle Ritchie reports the most recently slain teen is the son of the man who created the “Stop Snitching” DVDs.
Fourteen-year-old Najee Thomas was fatally shot in the head Monday night while inside his Cherry Hill home in the 600-block of Roundview Road.
He is the son of Ronnie Thomas, also known as Skinny Suge, who created the “Stop Snitching” DVDs that gained national attention. The first video surfaced in 2004 and was followed by a sequel in 2007.
Police believed the DVDs were a form of witness intimidation and popularized violence in Baltimore.
Skinny Suge was sentenced in 2010 and is now serving nearly 20 years in federal prison.
Now stuffed animals and balloons hang from the fence of the home where his son was shot and killed. His murder makes the seventh teen killed this year in Baltimore City.
The violence against Baltimore’s teenagers is a major concern for parents with teens of their own.
“I have a 13-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy to be concerned about. They were playing basketball with [Najee] the same day he passed away,” said Rozonia Bunch, neighbor.
Last week, 17 year-old Michael Mayfield, a student at Edmondson-Westside High School, was shot and killed.
No arrests have been made in either of the boys’ deaths.
As summer break approaches, the mayor is stepping up her efforts to make sure Baltimore’s kids have the right leadership and a safe place to go.
“That’s why it was so important for me to do the work, the youth connection centers that I spoke about in my state of the city,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “We are working to make sure we have year-round protection.”
Of the seven teens killed this year, two of the cases have been closed; five remain open.
The police department says it’s committed to tracking down the triggermen in all of these cases.
“We need to stop violence from happening with our youth, whether it’s youth-on-youth violence or whatever the case maybe. We want to make sure we prevent it before it becomes an issue,” said Lt. Eric Kowalcyzk, Baltimore City Police.
A vigil is scheduled at Edmondson-Westside High School for Mayfield. Police have not said if the violent history of Najee Thomas’ father has anything to do with his murder.
A $2,000 reward is being offered for tips that lead to the arrest of a suspect in the death of Mayfield.
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