A 3-month-old girl, her 18-year-old mother and a man were hit by stray bullets when gunfire broke out yesterday afternoon in their East Baltimore neighborhood.
Alethea Mitchell was shot once in the shoulder, and her daughter, Teshaviona, was shot once in the arm as Ms. Mitchell scurried to take her daughter inside their home in the 800 block of N. Montford Ave., police said.
"They were outside on their stoop talking to neighbors when the shooting started," said police Detective James Hagin, adding that they were innocent bystanders.
The third victim, Michael McNeil, 23, was walking along the avenue when he was shot at least four times in the arms and legs by a lone gunman.
The victims were in stable condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Detective Hagin said. Police described their injuries as "not life-threatening."
Police at the scene said Ms. Mitchell had her daughter in her arms and was sitting on the steps of her rowhouse at 1:30 p.m. when the gunman, on the corner of Madison and Montford avenues, began firing.
Detective Hagin could not provide a motive for the shooting or say at whom the gunman was aiming.
Residents in the neighborhood said they heard eight to 12 shots from automatic weapons. Police said as many as 18 shots could have been fired.
Wanda Johnson, 40, who lives in the 800 block of N. Montford Ave., said she heard several loud "pops" and opened her front door.
"I saw two gentlemen," she said. "One was holding a gun and firing. He was pointing the gun up the street."
She said that she saw another man sort of "hopping" along the corner.
As she peered out, Mrs. Johnson said she felt something hit her knee and went inside to call police. When she returned to the front door, she found that a bullet had ripped through the metal part of the door and broken part of the glass.
Another man who lives on Montford Avenue and asked not to be identified said he heard about a dozen shots.
As police questioned witnesses and gathered evidence, the talk among residents centered on other shootings in the area and complaints of drug trafficking.
"What makes this so bad is the kids had just gotten back from church, and the bus had just let them off here," Mrs. Johnson said, adding that there are always dozens of children playing on the sidewalk.
"But you can't keep them in the house all the time," she said. "I gave a description to police and someone should be able to give them a name. The trouble is, people are afraid to get involved."
After a 2-year-old boy was shot July 7 three blocks from yesterday's incident, police canvassed the area, distributing posters and stickers that said "The gun you see today might be used tonight . . . maybe against your loved one. Please stop the tears." Police encouraged residents to report any illegal weapons in their neighborhood.
Like yesterday's victims, toddler Michael Gordon of the 900 block of N. Collington Ave., was hit by a stray bullet as three men exchanged gunfire outside his home. A .22-caliber bullet passed through his wrist, chipping a bone.
In June, 3-year-old Andre Dorsey was killed when he was hit by a stray bullet in front of his family's rowhouse in the 900 block of E. Biddle St. In that incident, police charged a 15-year-old boy who lives in the 800 block of N. Montford with first-degree murder.
In February, Calvin Taylor, 15, was caught in the cross-fire between two gunman in the 1100 block of N. Collington Ave. and was shot in the back.
"We are moving," said one woman who lives in the 800 block of N. Montford Ave. and asked not to be identified. "We've been here nine years, and it has done nothing but get worse."