Four dead this week on west side

Police are increasing presence in area marked by drugs and violence

May 05, 2001|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Thursday night's shooting barrage in West Baltimore that left two men dead, two others wounded and a street littered with shell casings was the third burst of violence to hit Harlem Park and neighboring Poppleton this week.

One man was killed Wednesday and another Sunday in the 800 block of Vine St., six blocks south of Thursday's shootings, which occurred in the 900 block of Edmondson Ave., just north of U.S. 40.

Detectives said yesterday that they had not established motives in any of the cases, though the shootings occurred in areas described by police as drug-infested.

The four homicides this week on the city's west side follow a violent weekend that left six people dead and a 2-year-old in a coma after being struck in the head by a stray bullet in East Baltimore. The toddler, Carlos Woods, remained in serious condition yesterday at Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Last month, the Western District began a program similar to its counterpart on the east side, where an extra 120 officers flooded the streets last August to help the beleaguered patrol bureau and send a message to criminals.

Now, a squad of 50 officers is augmenting patrols in the Western, considered the city's second most violent area.

This year, 88 people have been killed in the city, compared to 101 at the same time last year.

Thursday's shootings occurred about 8:50 p.m. Police said two men got out of a burgundy four-door vehicle that had just turned west onto Edmondson Avenue from Fremont Avenue.

The two men, said police spokesman Agent Martin Bartness, were both armed and "immediately began firing" toward a vacant lot where people had gathered.

One wounded man collapsed in the lot; the other fell 50 feet up the street. Both West Baltimore men died about 9:30 p.m. at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. They were identified yesterday as Melvin D. Harrison, 26, of the 1900 block of Ridgehill Ave., and Andre H. Raheem, 40, of the 500 block of N. Arlington Ave.

Wounded in the shootings were James Price, 37, and Tamara Smith, 16, both of West Baltimore. They were treated at Bon Secours Hospital and released.

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