City police seeking patterns in surge of nonfatal shootings

July 10, 2008|By Annie Linskey and Gus G. Sentementes

Baltimore's police commissioner expressed concern yesterday about a spate of nonfatal shootings that has added to an uptick in violence.

"I know it is an easy adage to say one is too many, but that is true," Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said.

Despite the recent rise, shootings have fallen 25 percent this year. The city has also seen a 35 percent drop in homicides compared with 2007.

But Bealefeld said detectives who work on shootings are solving fewer cases this year, about 40 percent compared with 48 percent last year.

Those detectives typically work cases for four days and walk a beat on the fifth day to bolster the numbers of officers on the street, said Paul Blair, the head of the city police union.

On Tuesday, the commissioner ordered all of the supervisors for robbery detectives to headquarters to examine patterns in their cases, saying people often are shot in revenge for an earlier robbery.

The first of Tuesday's overnight shootings appears to have stemmed from a drug dispute, said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman. He said a 45-year-old Timonium man was shot in the shoulder about 11 p.m. Tuesday in the 5500 block of Winner Ave. after a dispute over a $10 vial of cocaine. He drove himself to Sinai Hospital.

About 12:15 a.m. yesterday, a gunman in a car began firing in the 2100 block of Pennsylvania Ave., police said. A 21-year-old man standing nearby was shot and drove himself to University of Maryland Medical Center.

About 1:12 a.m. yesterday, police found a 15-year-old boy shot in his left side in the 3700 block of Woodbine Ave. He was treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Two hours later, a man shot in the chest and hand at an unspecified location drove himself to Johns Hopkins Hospital and stumbled into the emergency department, according to police and hospital officials.

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