Killing of boy, 16, brings total of homicides for 1998 to 314

January 01, 1999|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed yesterday morning shortly after he got out of a taxi in Southeast Baltimore, becoming the city's 314th slaying victim of 1998 -- and the 62nd victim younger than age 20, police said.

Andre Corey of the 1400 block of Kenhill Ave. was shot about 10: 50 a.m. in the 500 block of N. Linwood Ave. Police said he was wounded several times in the upper body.

Agent Angelique Cook-Hayes, a police spokeswoman, said Corey was pronounced dead on arrival at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She said detectives knew of no motive or suspect.

Killings in Baltimore last year have exceeded 1997's total of 312 despite a concerted effort by police. Up to 100 extra officers were on the streets each night last month to try to prevent killings.

Baltimore finished 1998 as the fourth-deadliest city in the nation per capita, the same ranking it had in 1997. The city had 46 killings per 100,000 residents, after Washington at 49, New Orleans at 51 and Gary, Ind., at 76.

While Baltimore has had more than 300 killings each year since 1990, many cities across the country have experienced sharp declines. New York dropped from 767 murders in 1997 to 616 as of Monday, the lowest toll since 1964. Los Angeles went from 566 in 1997 to 414 as of Monday, a level not seen since 1970.

Baltimore police say that violence overall in the city has dropped more than 30 percent over the past three years, but blame the high homicide rate on a drug epidemic that claims an estimated 55,000 addicts.

Police point to statistics from the state prison system that show 85 percent of inmates -- a large percentage of whom are from Baltimore -- are addicted to drugs, the highest level in the nation.

In Baltimore, 37 percent of women arrested and 48 percent of men are addicted to heroin, three times the rate in New York and six times the rate in Washington, the statistics show.

``The murder rate is narcotic-driven,'' said Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a city police spokesman, who said that more than 70 percent of the city's killings can be linked to the drug trade.

Police started the year targeting youth violence. But yesterday's slaying was the 62nd victim younger than age 20 to be killed last year, up from 61 in 1997.

Pub Date: 1/01/99

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