Three men were charged Sunday in a weekend shooting at the Inner Harbor, an incident that prompted the Baltimore Police Department to describe its security plan for next weekend's Fourth of July fireworks display at the tourist attraction.
Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said the harbor shooting was "of significant concern to us," but it was one of several over the weekend that left two people dead and seven more injured. It was also the city's second unusually violent weekend in a row.
About midnight Saturday, brothers Keiron and Dominick Holly and friend Kesmond Harris, all teenagers, confronted another group of teens on a walkway near the World Trade Center, police said. Keiron Holly, 19, pulled out a silver revolver, saying, "What are you looking at? I want to kill someone tonight," and opened fire, according to police reports.
A 19-year-old was struck once in the left hand, police said. He was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was later released. Police did not identify him, saying that they believed the shooting might have been gang-related and that he could be in danger.
According to police reports, the three suspects boarded an eastbound Charm City Circulator bus on Pratt Street after the shooting and rode it for a few minutes before exiting near Central Avenue. Officers spotted the trio walking north on Central. As officers chased the men, Dominick Harris pulled out the revolver, police said. One officer fired a shot, Bealefeld said, but struck no one. The three were then arrested.
Keiron Holly, who was charged with attempted first-degree murder, had been arrested earlier this month on drug charges, according to police. His brother, 18, who also goes by "Domonick" Holly, was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and handgun violations. Harris also was charged with conspiracy and handgun violations.
Seeking to reassure next weekend's revelers, Bealefeld said 300 police officers will patrol the harbor and downtown area during the Sunday fireworks, an increase from last year that had been planned before the shooting. City police for the first time this year will have reinforcement from the Maryland State Police, in addition to other state agencies, such as the Maryland Transportation Authority, Bealefeld said.
Beginning Easter weekend, city police stepped up their presence at the Inner Harbor in preparation for the larger crowds that warm weather brings. The department's efforts at the harbor, Bealefeld said, were in part shaped by violence there last year, including a string of random assaults that spring and a double shooting in August.
On a typical night, about 60 officers patrol the harbor and downtown — up from 10 three years ago, Bealefeld said. The department also "makes good use" of the more than 100 surveillance cameras in the area.
Last year's Fourth of July fireworks drew a record crowd, Bealefeld said, and there were no major incidents.
The harbor shooting drew attention because of the coming holiday, but it was one of at least seven this weekend. Two people were killed, though police did not release their names, saying families were still being notified. Police are investigating two other deaths that they describe as suspicious.
Last weekend, two people were killed and eight others wounded in shootings. Earlier this month, the department released statistics showing that nonfatal shootings had risen slightly this year compared with last. Bealefeld on Sunday called the violence a reminder that "we have a long way to go in keeping the city safe" and renewed his commitment to crack down on "bad guys with guns."
A spokesman for the department said officers had taken 50 illegal guns off the streets in the past week and seized 1,100 so far this year.
Some community members worried that the city is returning to a violent trajectory after several years of lower homicide tallies. The city's deadliest stretch this year was Memorial Day weekend, when 10 people were killed.
"My feeling is that we're slipping back to where we were in early 2007," said Kathryn Cooper-Nicholas, who organized the group Sisters Saving the City partly in response to a weekend that year that saw 12 murders. "It's devastating."
Cooper-Nicholas said the prayer group has focused in the past year on keeping children busy when they're not in school. Gangs, she said, seize on idleness and boredom. She said city leaders and the police department appear to be doing what they can to address the flare up of violence.
"It can't just be a police issue," she said. "We need the community to commit to stopping this."
A flurry of shootings in Baltimore over the weekend left two people dead and seven others injured and also marked the city's second straight unusually violent weekend.