By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After a decline to start the new year, Baltimore City has seen a surge in violence over the past few weeks – including a shootout Monday night that led to a S.W.A.T. raid.

Cell phone video obtained by WJZ shows S.W.A.T. members swarming a Baltimore City home minutes after gunfire erupts in the eastern district.

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A shootout sparks between two groups of people along East Preston Street.

“It was like a succession of loud pops,” one witness said.

Callers told police some of the suspects took off in a car to East Landowne Street, where they fled inside a home along the 400 block.

S.W.A.T. members raided the home with rifles drawn, making some people crawl out of the home. Police took five people into custody for questioning. No one has been arrested.

Investigators believe the suspects got away out of the back door, but weapons were found on the property.

“Later on through the investigation, three handguns were recovered in the rear yard of that location, as well as a handgun located in the front,” Deputy Commissioner Andre Bonaparte said.

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The incident is the latest in a rash of shootings to grip the city.

Earlier on Monday, two people were gunned down along Federal Street in East Baltimore. Authorities took 30-year-old Tayvon Brand into custody, charging him with first-degree murder.

Investigators believe a large chunk of the recent violence has to do with two rival gangs going back and forth.

“It’s not a gang war, it’s not a turf war, it’s stupidity, we know that. It’s dumb. But it’s beefs over the smallest of things, but they resort to violence,” Baltimore City Police spokesperson T.J. Smith said.

Baltimore is a city that’s doing everything it can to get trigger pullers off the streets.

Police say a 65-year-old woman who was on her front porch in West Baltimore was shot and killed on Saturday. She was gunned down, but police say another man was the target.

Tips about these incidents can be texted to Baltimore City Police anonymously at 443-902-4824.

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Rick Ritter