Sparked by the shooting of a 2-year-old boy, city police yesterday went door to door in an East Baltimore neighborhood urging residents to report illegal weapons to the 911 emergency hot line.
The victim, Michael Gordon of the 900 block of N. Collington Ave., suffered a wrist wound Monday night when he was hit by a stray bullet.
Yesterday, police canvassed the 800 and 900 blocks of N. Collington Ave. handing out posters and stickers that said: "The gun you see today might be used tonight . . . maybe against your loved one. Please, stop the tears."
Michael became the 18th city child under the age of 15 to have been hit by gunfire so far this year. Two victims died.
Police said Michael was the apparent victim of drug-related violence.
Lesha Gardner, 22, the boy's mother, said Michael would be released from Johns Hopkins Hospital today.
Ms. Gardner said Michael will have to wear a cast on his wrist for two months.
Lt. Wayne Wilson of the Eastern District said crime has increased in East Baltimore as a result of increased drug activity in that area.
He said more people are vulnerable to drug-related violence during the summertime because many residents go outside to enjoy the weather.
"It's just a sign of the times," Lieutenant Wilson said.
Michael and his mother were standing near their home in 900 block of N. Collington Ave. when gunfire erupted about 8:30 p.m. Monday.
Police said the boy was hit as three men exchanged gunfire in the 800 block of N. Collington Ave. A .22-caliber bullet passed through his wrist, chipping a bone.
"I hope the community gets together so we can help each other," Ms. Gardner said yesterday as police fanned through the neighborhood. "It could have been anyone's child."
Ms. Gardner's boyfriend, Anthony Murray, 26, said he was bitter.
"I'm fed up," he said. "I want the guys who did this to get somserious punishment. I believe in a life for a life. I don't want them to just get a slap on the wrists. If the death sentence was brought back to Maryland, a lot of this would stop."
Marsha Moses, 30, of the 900 block of N. Collington Ave. said she was sitting on her stoop when Michael was wounded.
Pandemonium broke out as neighborhood residents took cover, she recalled.
"It was like the Wild West," Ms. Moses said. "Everybody was moving fast. And there was a lot of shooting."
Shirley Hightower, 52, who has lived in the 900 block N. Collington for nearly 25 years, recalled the days when the neighborhood was peaceful and neighbors watched over each others' houses.
"Those days are gone. Now you have all of these drugs," Ms. Hightower said, adding: "There's no future for children any more, especially black children. They're being shot all up."