Baltimore slayings reach 330, tying 20-year-old record Record number of homicides now likely in 1992

December 28, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer Staff writers Glenn Small and David Simon contributed to this article.

Baltimore recorded its 330th homicide last night, matchin the record set in 1972 and setting an average of nearly one killing a day.

During the holiday week alone, seven people were killed in the city.

So far this year, an average of 27 people have been slain each month, and the homicide total is almost certain to surpass the record of 330 set two decades ago of 330. Baltimore already has surpassed 1991's total of 304 homicides, or about 42 per 100,000.

Since the homicide record was set, Baltimore's population has fallen by about 19 percent. In 1970, census figures show, Baltimore had 905,775 residents, compared with 736,014 in 1990.

The most recent homicide happened about 9 last night when an unidentified man between 18 and 20 years old was shot once in the head in a vacant lot between two rowhouses in the 1700 block of W. Fayette St. It pushed the murder count to 330 -- unofficially, because police had some cases they need to evaluate.

"We'll confirm the official count after [today's] regular case review," said Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman.

"Are we concerned? Sure, but we have about 50 detectives assigned full time to the homicide division with the responsibility of investigating sudden, violent death on almost a daily basis with incredible efficiency.

"What we can do on our side of the equation is make sure the people who commit murder are identified and brought to justice. If you commit a murder in the city of Baltimore, you can be sure we'll find you."

He said homicide detectives have solved 71.2 percent of the homicides committed as of Christmas Day.

Witnesses to last night's slaying said they heard an argument and then a gunshot. For an unexplained reason, police said, they were not called until 9:53 p.m.

By that time, police found the corpse of a young man, described as being 6 feet tall and about 170 pounds, lying face up in a trash-strewn area between two rowhouses.

He apparently suffered one gunshot to the back of the head, said police, who found only a watch and a set of keys on the body.

Homicide detectives said they suspect the shooting was drug-related because the area just west of the site is a notorious drug market.

The body was taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Police also have no suspects in the holiday week's other shootings:

* About 9 p.m. Saturday, two young men were killed after a pair of unidentified gunmen got out of a brown car near Reservoir Hill and opened fire with an assault rifle and a 9mm handgun, police said.

They said more than 39 shots were fired in the attack. The area of the shooting, near the intersection of Brookfield Avenue and Whitelock Street, is known for drug trafficking, police said.

The two men killed were 26-year-old Dwayne Oliver of the 800 block of Chauncey St. and 24-year-old Jack Lewis of the 3300 block of Parkington Ave., Agent Price said. He said police, who are investigating why the two gunmen opened fire, have no suspects and only a limited description with which to work.

A woman who had stopped at a nearby carry-out to get a sandwich on her way to work was injured in the attack. Catherine Jordan, 48, of the 2500 block of Brookfield Ave., was shot in the right leg and treated at the scene.

"Yes, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Detective Richard L. James, who is investigating the case. "The two men who were killed, we don't know yet whether they knew each other or not."

* Barbara A. Forbes, 32, was found beaten to death in her Remington home in the 2900 block of Miles Ave. about 5:10 a.m. Saturday, police said. Her husband, Ronald Forbes, 35, charged with first-degree murder, was held without bail at the city jail yesterday, police said.

* Marvin Levi Smith, 26, of the 3100 block of Belmont Ave., was shot to death Saturday night, police said. His body was found on the sidewalk in the 1100 block of W. North Ave. The assailant was described as weighing 165 pounds and wearing a long yellow coat, police said.

* Sharon Gray, a 30-year-old mother of two, was shot in the head late Christmas Eve by an unidentified man outside her apartment building and died Christmas Day at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police said a man had knocked at the door of Ms. Gray's apartment in the 700 block of W. Saratoga St., spoke to someone inside, then left. Ms. Gray was shot a short time later when she went outside the apartment.

* Charles Barnes, 24, of the 1600 block of Moreland Ave., was shot fatally shortly before 5 p.m. Christmas Eve near Westwood Avenue and Bloomingdale Road. Injured in the shooting was Derrick Lide, also of the 1600 block of Moreland Ave. Mr. Lide was in serious but stable condition at Shock Trauma.

* Anthony Ferguson, 30, of the 1600 block E. 28th St., was in stable condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a shooting shortly after midnight Friday while he was walking in the 1600 block of E. Oliver St.

* Deshon Clark, 32, of the 2200 block of Brookfield Ave., shot once in the chest at noon Christmas Day, remained in critical condition at Shock Trauma. Police charged his roommate, John Brown, also 32, with attempted murder.

Police also reported a shooting occurred at 1:40 a.m. yesterday, after a cabdriver picked up a fare on Moravia Road. The passenger asked to be taken to the corner of Chester and Lanvale streets, and when the cab arrived at the intersection, the passenger allegedly pulled out a gun and announced a robbery. The driver, in turn, pulled out a gun and fired on the passenger.

Police are investigating to determine whether the shooting was justifiable.

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