The oldest of them was a 68-year-old man found beaten to death on the floor of his kitchen. The youngest was barely 11 months old, a baby girl whose mother allegedly fed her an overdose of cocaine. Twelve were teen-agers. Overwhelmingly, they were black, and all but 18 were men.
DTC They are among the 101 people killed in Baltimore so far in 1991 -- a year that is proving to be the most murderous since 1972, when a record 330 people were killed.
"They're coming through the door faster than ever before," said Lt. Robert M. Stanton of the Baltimore police homicide unit. "At this pace, there's just not enough investigators to handle that kind of workload. It's grueling, to say the least."
From police headquarters to City Hall, drugs are being blame for the surge in killings that has stretched police resources and frustrated politicians facing a citywide primary election in less than five months.
"The mayor has tried to make it clear that he believes the nation's cities are suffering because of national policies related to drugs andguns," said Clint Coleman, press secretary to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.
Indeed, the police say that about 40 percent of the 101 homicides in Baltimore so far this year were drug-related. Over the weekend, four people -- including three teen-agers -- were killed in a Southwest Baltimore row house as a result of just one drug dispute.
week before that, the police broke up a drug feud that featured two groups of men with semiautomatic weapons gunning for each other on the streets of West and Southwest Baltimore. Two people died as a result of that dispute. In February, two more were gunned down at North Avenue and Pulaski Street in a hail of automatic weapons fire, a conflict also blamed on drugs.
In all, 70 of Baltimore's 101 homicide victims were shot to death -- all but six with handguns.
Recently, six more detectives were detailed to homicide unit t augment the 30 detectives, six sergeants and two lieutenants already assigned to the squad.
Lieutenant Stanton suggested that Baltimore would continue to experience an increase in murders comparable to the surge in Washington over the past few years, in part because of the drug problem and the increased use of high-powered weapons that drug wars have spawned.
MA The 100th killing of the year came 54 minutes after midnight
Tuesday when 21-year-old Ronald E. Prince was shot to death on the street in the 1300 block of Division Street.
Witnesses told the police that Mr. Prince had been arguing with a man over drugs. The police have no suspects.
About four hours later, 63-year-old Lucy Martin McIntyre became Baltimore's 101st homicide victim. She was stabbed to death in the kitchen of her home in the 500 block of Richwood Avenue in Govans. The police have charged a man who they say may have been under the influence of drugs when he went to Mrs. McIntyre's home to discuss some business.
"Something has got to be done," said Sgt. Gary Childs of the homicide unit. "We have to learn some respect for each other."
1991 homicides: a comparison
Jurisdiction... ... ... 1991... ... .. .. 1990
... ... ... ... .... to date... ... ... period
Baltimore... .. .. .. ... 101... ... ... .. . 89
Baltimore Co.... ... .. ... 4.... ... ... ... 13
Anne Arundel... ... .. .....5... ... .. ... .. 4
Carroll... ... .. .. ... ...3.... ... ... .... 0
Harford... ..... ... .... ..0.. .. ... ... ... 1
Howard.. .. .... .... ..... 5.... ... .... ... 2
Montgomery.... ... ... .... 4.... ... ..... .. 2
Prince George's... .... .. 30.... .... ... .. 32