City police say a string of recent robberies and shootings in Southeast Baltimore — including the fatal shootings of two men — may be linked to a pair of suspects.
The most recent shooting occurred early Wednesday, when an unidentified man was fatally shot about 12:25 a.m. in the 3700 block of Mount Pleasant Ave. in the Baltimore Highlands neighborhood north of Highlandtown. The victim was walking with a group of people when they were held up, and he was shot when he tried to run, police said.
Police said victims and witnesses in other recent robberies and shooting incidents in the Patterson Park area have described being robbed by a pair of black males between the ages of 25 and 30 who were wearing dark clothing.
Wednesday morning's victim was a Latino man, the second Latino man shot in the area since Saturday, but police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said robbery and circumstances — not ethnicity — appeared to be the motive in the recent cases. He said ballistics tests and case notes were being compared to see how many crimes may be linked to the pair.
Saturday's victim, shot at North Lakewood and East Fairmount avenues, had not been identified as of Wednesday afternoon.
Over the summer, the city's East Baltimore Latino community was on alert after at least five men were shot or killed in a span of a few weeks. That community is particularly vulnerable, advocates say, because people often carry cash, work late hours and are generally reluctant to report crimes to police.
Guglielmi said police were deploying extra officers to areas north and east of Patterson Park on Wednesday, and officers were joining members of the Patterson Park Neighborhood Association on an already scheduled community walk. They were also connecting with advocacy groups like Casa de Maryland, he said.
Anyone with information was asked to phone a tip line at 1-855-223-0033, or call 911 if they witness a robbery in process.
The fatal shooting was one of two shootings reported to police overnight Tuesday.
About 1:50 a.m., police responded to the 4900 block of Schaub Ave. in the Frankford neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore and found a 59-year-old man shot in the upper body. Police believe the man was approached by a suspect in front of his home and shot, possibly in a robbery attempt. But the incident was not believed to be connected to the Southeast Baltimore robberies.
The man was taken to a nearby hospital and was in serious condition, Guglielmi said.
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