Three men were gunned down in the city over the weekend and their assailants remain at large, police said.
The slayings pushed the number of homicides so far this year in Baltimore to 162, compared with 158 at the same time last year, said Dennis Hill, a city police spokesman.
Last year, the city recorded 305 homicides, second only to the 330 murders in 1972.
At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, police found Charles Allen Bryant, 17, of the Bronx, N.Y., lying face down in the 2100 block of Hollins St. He had been shot several times.
Bryant was rushed to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he died a short time later, police said.
Police said Bryant was seen arguing with a man earlier but that it was not certain if that was a motive for the slaying.
Less than two hours later, at 11:10 p.m., police said Jay Roy, 22, of the 1600 block of Appleton St., was fatally shot in the 1800 block of Bruce St.
Police said Roy was shot at least four times and had bullet wounds to the head, hand and buttocks.
Police believe the slaying was drug-related because Roy, recently released from a prison near Hagerstown, had numerous handgun and narcotics violations. The area in which he was slain also is known for drug activity, police said.
"Right now, the case is kind of wide open," a homicide detective said.
About 12:30 a.m. yesterday, police said, Sandy Ervin Scott, of the 3000 block of Schaub Ave., was fatally shot in the lower back as he got out of his car in the 5400 block of Sarril Road. He died at 2:30 a.m. at Francis Scott Key Hospital, police said.
Police said Scott, 30, was seen arguing with two men who tried to rob him. Some of his property appeared to be missing and might have been taken by the men.
Hill sought to explain the city's growing number of slayings. "We know 40 to 45 percent [of homicides] are drug-related in some manner," he said. "In many of these cases, the victim and the assailant know each other. They weren't strangers."
"Now, what causes the homicide rate to go up and down is a societal problem," Hill said.
In connection with two slayings that occurred July 28, police on Saturday arrested Donald Eugene "Butt-Butt" Booze Jr., 26, of the 3100 block of Thorndale Ave., following an hourlong standoff with police at a friend's mother's home in the 100 block of Stonecroft Road.
Booze was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and felonious use of a handgun in connection with the July 28 slayings of two Baltimore County men in the Pimlico area.
Alan E. Snead, 24, of the 3400 block of Virginia Ave., was arrested last Tuesday on murder charges in connection with the slayings.
In the July 28 incident, Antonio Henderson, 20, and Isaac Durant, 25, were fatally shot in the 3100 block of Woodland Ave. after two men approached them on the street, police said.