BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison Monday addressed the series of shootings that left several dead and others injured over Memorial Day weekend.
Eight people were killed in a series of shootings across the city, bringing the number of homicides in the city this year to 118. Another fatal shooting happened just before 9:45 p.m. Monday in the 3300 block of Liberty Heights Avenue.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, Harrison said the level of violence over the weekend was unacceptable.
Police are still working to determine if any of the shootings are related.
“We know that most of the persons or several of the persons are no strangers to our criminal justice system, to include murder convictions, attempted murder convictions and robbery convictions. Some of this was retaliatory violence,” he said.
Harrison said all of the investigations are open and active at this time and said they have strong information in several of the cases, but they need more.
“We know someone saw something, someone heard something, someone knows something,” he said, asking if residents who know anything about the shootings over the weekend to contact police.
He said those with information can tell police anonymously.
Giving more details of two of the incidents, Harrison said they had an officer within a block of the gunfire to get to the victims quickly, but he said they need more help.
Two of the incidents happened inside of someone’s home, which speaks to the fact that the victims and perpetrators knew or knew of one another, the commissioner said.
“These are not random, we know for a fact these are not random,” he said.
Neighbors near one of the shootings on Spaulding Avenue didn’t want to be identified but were saddened by the violence.
“I was just shocked to hear that it was in the neighborhood where I live,” one neighbor told WJZ.
“They’re so fast to shoot and kill, it’s sad,” another neighbor said.
Harrison said he could not say if the aerial surveillance plane program that launched at the beginning of the month captured any of the shootings from over the weekend but he did say that in general detectives are using data obtained through the program to help with their investigations.
The commissioner also thanked Baltimore police and members of their special operations team for their help with the Secret Service during President Trump’s visit on Monday. He estimated there were about 25 to 30 officers there during the visit.
The commissioner said the city is still under a stay-at-home order and they are still enforcing it, not just with officers on the streets but with their social club task force, enforcing the order with businesses who are still opening despite the order.
“It is very frustrating that people are not abiding by that, this is about saving lives and protecting one another,” Harrison said.