In the wake of five homicides over the weekend, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke says one of his top legislative priorities is to obtain state money to help combat the city's violence.
"I consider it very important, even in this tough budget year, to get enough money from the state to increase the number of police officers on the street to help us fight this problem," Schmoke said yesterday.
The mayor said the money could be used to fill vacancies in the city Police Department.
"This, coupled with our adoption of community-oriented policy, will help us rally our citizens in our fight against violence," he said.
The death toll, which includes the stabbing deaths this weekend of a pregnant woman and her sister, makes a total of nine killings in a year that is only 6 days old. Last year, 304 people were slain in the city.
On Saturday, a 23-year-old man who was shot in the throat Dec. 8 died from that wound at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore. That death was counted toward this year's list of homicides, police said.
In the most recent homicide, the owner of a West Baltimore exterminating business and hardware store was bludgeoned to death yesterday in the foyer of his shop.
A patron of the Scat-A-Bug in the 1200 block of W. North Ave. found the body of George Taylor, 57, at 2 p.m.
Police said the victim apparently died from a blow to the head. No murder weapon was recovered, and an autopsy was scheduled for today.
Police said robbery may have been the motive but would not say how much money was taken from the store, where Taylor worked alone.
Police said Taylor's black Cadillac apparently was stolen but was found several blocks away. The car was being processed for fingerprints.
In another slaying, shortly after midnight yesterday, Antonio Lee Brown, 21, of the 5400 block of Lynview Ave., was found lying in the 2300 block of Presbury St. with a gunshot wound of the head, police said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they had no motive or suspects.
The double stabbing occurred about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Police said a man entered a house in the 2200 block of W. Fayette St. and with a kitchen knife stabbed Yvonne Sparrow, 32, who was pregnant. He then raped a 33-year-old woman who was also in the house, police said.
When the man's former girlfriend, Denise Sparrow, 26, sister of Yvonne Sparrow, came home a few minutes later with a male friend, the man then fatally stabbed her, police said, as her escort fled the house seeking help.
The sisters died in the house from multiple stab wounds, police said. Police couldn't explain why the intruder did not kill the third woman.
After the stabbing, the man fled the house and slit his wrist in an attempt to commit suicide, police said. He was found by police several blocks away and identified by witnesses who saw him running from the sisters' home.
Joseph Evans Sr., of the first block of S. Calverton Road, was under police guard at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Police said Evans would be charged on his release with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree rape, and weapons and burglary violations. Evans was in good condition at the hospital.
Police said a domestic problem apparently led to the double stabbing. The relationship between Evans and Denise Sparrow ended several weeks ago.
About 11:40 a.m. Saturday, police responded to a report of a body found in an alley behind the 200 block of N. Carey St.
When they arrived they found Veronica Elizabeth Reese, 22, of the 1500 block of E. Lanvale St. She had been stabbed once in the chest and died at the scene, police said.
Meanwhile, arson investigators today continued to search for clues to why someone threw a gallon container of gasoline into an East Baltimore rowhouse early Friday, killing a brother and sister.
The victims were were Anthony Jamar Moore, 4, and Reva Shalita Moore, 5, of the firebombed home in the 2000 block of Federal St.
Unable to save the children, Leroy T. Bess, 38, of the 3000 block of Rayner Ave., jumped from the third-floor front window to escape the fire and was injured in the fall.
Bess was listed in serious but stable condition today at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore, a hospital spokesman said.
Police are looking for the occupants of a gray, four-door Oldsmobile that stopped in front of the house moments before the first floor erupted into flames.
Witnesses told police they saw one of the men toss the container through the front window and then re-enter the car, which sped away.
Others occupants ran from the house as flames shot out of the first-floor window, a neighbor said.
Neighbors have been unable to explain the firebombing.
"It's bad the kids were killed; they were cute little kids," said a neighbor. "As far as who did it, nobody knows that. If they do, they aren't saying anything."
Police reported that Patrick Brown, of the first block of N. Smallwood St. in West Baltimore, died about 10:20 p.m. Saturday at Shock-Trauma.
Brown was visiting a friend Dec. 8 in the first block of S. Pulaski St. when he answered a knock at the door. A gunman shot Brown in the neck and fled.
Police said they have no motive or suspect in that slaying.