Two more people were killed in the city Tuesday, continuing one of the deadliest stretches in the city in recent years with 10 slain since early Saturday.
Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said most of the crimes appeared to be linked to "minor, petty disputes that got out of control" and said other crimes – such as burglaries, robberies and aggravated assaults – were down "markedly" over the holiday weekend despite the bloodshed.
"We have to have the ability to get together, to enjoy ourselves over the holiday without it turning into ... arguments that turn into shootings," said Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake. "We have to want more for ourselves in our community than this type of lawlessness."
The end of the holiday weekend provided no respite from the shootings, with two more killings reported Tuesday about a mile apart in West Baltimore. Deandre Leeper, 27, was found about 12:40 a.m. after an officer heard shots in the 500 block of N. Fulton Ave.
About 1:20 p.m., an unidentified man was shot to death in the 1600 block of Bruce Ct., in the Gilmor Homes public housing. Little information was available about either shooting.
The 10 killings in four days appeared to be the deadliest such span since 2007. Since then, the city has seen a nearly 20 percent decrease in homicides. In spite of the violent weekend, killings in Baltimore are down 15 percent compared with the same time last year.
Bealefeld said the Police Department is not planning any major shifts in deployment or strategy.
"We want to be smart and not take a blanket approach to trying to solve this, because what's worked for us over the last three years is not taking that approach," Bealefeld said. "It's being very focused in our response and using our resources to maximize those results."
At least two of the deadly incidents in recent days appeared to have gang ties — shootings that occurred within 45 minutes early Saturday and separated by a few blocks in East Baltimore's Monument Street corridor.
The victims, Davon Dorsey, 18, and Timothy Gaskins, 22, were believed to be members of the Lueders Park Piru, a Bloods set whose name draws on its Los Angeles roots, according to law enforcement sources. Neither man had an adult criminal record.
Police believe the suspected shooter is affiliated with the Crips gang, sources said.
But other killings appeared to have been the result of heat of the moment disputes.
Police say Kevin Belton, 44, was stabbed to death Monday night after being called to a home in the 4800 block of Truesdale Ave. in Northeast Baltimore, where a woman was arguing with Michael Thornton. according to charging documents, Thornton, 40, told police that he stabbed Belton in the left eye, arm and shoulder.
Bealefeld said a double-homicide Sunday in the Southwest District appeared to have stemmed from an argument at a street corner cookout that "devolved into a fight between a 30-year-old man and a woman who was at the party and went home and alerted relatives that had access to cheap, semiautomatic weapons and went back to settle the score themselves."
"Two men ended up losing their lives over a stupid argument. Some hair-pulling and a minor assault led to two people being dead," Bealefeld said.
Those types of crimes are beyond the "control and scope of police deployments," Bealefeld said. Police said they had persons of interest or warrants for suspects in several of the cases.
Bealefeld said he was more concerned by the Monument Street killings, which occurred in an area where police have focused more resources in the past year. The area is also home to the Safe Streets violence intervention program, which Rawlings-Blake recently reinstated.
"The Monument Street cases certainly have us evaluating what we could have done better," Bealefeld said. "When you have two street disturbances, two street fights that lead to two deaths within an hour of each other and with one common suspect, there's some breakdowns there."
Friends of Dorsey's, also known as "Dingo," took to MySpace, renaming their pages after him while making references to Lueders Park. One hinted at possible retaliation.
"Its gettin red now … Ready to give my life for u bluhd," one wrote.
Bealefeld noted a shooting in the 5900 block of Loch Raven Blvd. as being of the sort that police had little ability to curtail. Don Rice, 59, was found Monday morning in an SUV, dead from a shot to the head. Bealefeld said there was no indication that it had "anything to do with Northeast Baltimore."
"It was an opportune place where some coward elected to do his dirty deed," Bealefeld said.
Rawlings-Blake expressed frustration with the community's seemingly quiet acceptance of the daily violence. She said she recently rode with a patrol shift in Northeast Baltimore, and officers responded to a stabbing.
"No one wanted to say anything," she said.
Sun reporter Liz F. Kay contributed to this article.
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