A young man was gunned down yesterday in a drive-by shooting on the western edge of Baltimore -- a killing that community residents said should underscore their "cry for help" to deal with a growing crisis of drugs and murder.
Linda Myles, president of the Forest Heights tenants' association, said she was "infuriated" by the slaying of 20-year-old Frederick "Freddy" Young and accused police of doing nothing to halt escalating violence at the apartment complex off Forest Park Avenue near Leakin Park.
"It seems the only time we get to see the police turn out is when a murder has been committed," said Mrs. Myles, adding that five Forest Heights residents have met violent deaths in a year's time.
The shooting was the weekend's second drive-by killing. Last night, a man charged with shooting 14-year-old Eric Baxler to death near his Southwest Baltimore home surrendered to police, ending a two-day search.
Shawn Michael Calimer, 18, of the 1800 block of Ramsay Street, went to police headquarters at 6:25 p.m. with his lawyer to turn himself in, homicide detectives said.
Eric was hit twice in the back late Friday by shots fired from a car in the 2600 block of South Paca Street. He died early Saturday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Police believed the shooting was prompted by a dispute over someone's former girlfriend but were uncertain who might have been the target.
Police had no suspects last night in the death of Freddy Young. They had not ruled out the possibility that the shooting was drug-related.
Mr. Young was standing with a group of young men on the sidewalk in the 1900 block of Beechwood Avenue about 8 a.m. when someone drove past in a car and fired at least 10 shots.
Mr. Young's mother, Rose Olivia Reid, heard the shots and then a banging at her door in the 4900 block of Carmine Avenue. Two neighborhood boys were standing there.
"Miss Olivia," one of the boys said, "Freddy has been shot."
She ran to the sidewalk a short distance from her home and saw the youngest of her three children lying face up. He had been hit in the back by three bullets.
"It's my child," she remembered thinking as she stared at the body.
"My heart was cold; it was heavy, and it hurt," Mrs. Reid said. "I knew he was gone."
Mr. Young was a tall, strapping young man who had earned his high school equivalency degree and was trained as a cook at a Job Corps center, Mrs. Reid said. He was planning to start work at a fast food restaurant in Glen Burnie this week. He liked to write rap songs and perform them at local events, his mother said.
Mrs. Reid said she believes that her son was an innocent victim and that the shots were not meant for him. He had just been dropped off by a friend after attending a party the night before and was on his way to buy cigarettes with a group of friends, she said.
Mr. Young's death was only the latest sign that the neighborhood is under siege, said Mrs. Myles, who has lived in Forest Heights for 16 years.
"Almost nightly we hear the gun shots," she said.
"They start coming into the neighborhood as early as 6 a.m. to buy drugs. Now, they shoot and ride through the neighborhood. We are not welfare recipients, but working people, and this community used to be free of problems like this.
"It is getting so bad that I am scared to come home from work."
In August, the tenants' organization sent letters to elected officials, including Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, begging for more help from the police department.
"We regret we do not see any improvements as far as the police department is concerned in cleaning up drugs in our neighborhood," the letter said. "We have become prisoners in our home and our development. We can no longer enjoy our patios. We can not sleep at night for the drug dealers hanging out on our streets in the 4800, 4900 and 5000 block of Clifton Avenue, also known as 'the strip,' and on the steps of Clifton and Beechwood Avenues."
The mayor wrote back last week and promised to meet with the police to urge increased surveillance and use of tactical officers to deal with the drug problem and increasing violence.
But, Mrs. Myles noted, for Freddy Young it is too late.