Law enforcement investigators suspect that a series of crimes are linked in a chain of alliances and rivalries.
April 1, 2008: Stephon Blackwell, then 16, and Sterling Blackwell, then 15, are kidnapped from their home in the 600 block of Plymouth Road, a few blocks west of the city line. Six masked gunmen burst into house and hold 10 people - including the brothers and their mother - hostage for eight hours before stealing a car. As the gunmen leave, they fire shots at Steven "JR" Blackwell Jr., the boys' older brother, as he arrives, police said. Several law enforcement agencies assist in the search, though others in the house decline to cooperate.
April 4, 2008: Steven Blackwell Jr. gets his brothers back and brings them to Towson police headquarters three days later. Boys won't say where they had been, who took them or what happened while they were gone. Police can't say whether a ransom has been paid for their release.
April 11, 2008: Anthony Izzard, 25, is killed in a triple shooting in the 1700 block of W. Lexington St. At the time, police suspect that the shooting is linked to the kidnapping.
April 21, 2008: Shooting erupts outside Izzard's funeral. Michael Ellerby, 24, one of two men who was shot, dies.
May 15, 2008: Gunmen approach and shoot four men outside AFA Family Appliance store in the 2300 block of E. North Ave., firing at least 20 rounds. Tony Allen, 52, and Omar Spriggs, 27, died. Investigators believe the shootings were in retaliation for the Blackwell kidnappings.
July 25, 2008: Quinton Hogan, 23, and Donell Rogers, 21, who police believe are connected to the Blackwells, are slain in a sport utility vehicle on Wabash Ave.
July 29, 2008: Troy Wilson, 17, is fatally shot in 1200 block of Orleans St. while putting items in a car. Police believe Wilson was a Blackwell associate.
Feb. 1, 2009: Eric Pendergrass, 26, is abducted. He is later found suffocated and floating in the Patapsco River. Sources said at the time that Pendergrass had connections to the Blackwell family.
May 31, 2009: Gunfire breaks out in the 800 block of Kenwood Ave. Police think a man who has links to the Blackwells and another known suspect were shooting at each other.
June 13, 2009: A drug suspect who police believe is connected to the Blackwells is wounded in the 700 block of N. Kenwood Ave. The victim tells police he did not see the shooter.
July 2, 2009: A man police think is a Blackwell ally is grazed by bullets in the 600 block of N. Lakewood Ave.
July 19, 2009: Jerrod Reed, 16, is killed and another teen is wounded in a shooting in the 2800 block of E. Madison St. Police want to question a known Blackwell associate.
July 26, 2009: A dozen people, including Steven Blackwell Jr., 25, are wounded when gunmen open fire at a backyard cookout in the 2600 block of Ashland Ave. The gathering was held in memory of Donell Rogers, slain a year before. Police believe three other shooting incidents that left at least three injured in East Baltimore later that night are linked to the cookout shooting.
-From law enforcement sources