At least two of the weekend shooting incidents, which left as many as five people injured, may be connected, Bealefeld said. Police have a "hot lead" on suspects driving a gold Acura who fired and wounded two men along Mosher Street in West Baltimore early Friday afternoon. Bealefeld said detectives believe a triple shooting in the 2300 block of Hoffman St. in East Baltimore later that night might have been in retaliation for the Mosher Street shootings.
Bealefeld led off Monday morning's news conference at police headquarters with his frustrations over the previous gun conviction of Gough, who is charged with shooting Rice Friday on Harford Road at the same spot where, nearly 10 years ago to the day, Officer Michael J. Cowdery was shot and killed by a suspect who'd been stopped for questioning.
Court records show an increasingly dangerous series of interactions between Gough and police. In 2008, according to court records, he was stopped in North Baltimore and struggled with officers, who eventually recovered baggies of marijuana. A year later, he was at a Northwest Baltimore bus stop when detectives saw the outline of a handgun in his pants and chased him.
Gough, who at the time said he lived with his grandmother and had lost a job at McDonald's, told officers that he had the loaded gun for protection and offered to help officers find more weapons if they'd let him go, according to court records. When he asked to make a cellphone call, the officers seized his phone and saw his wallpaper photo: a picture of Gough holding the .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun.
District Judge Barbara B. Waxman sentenced Gough to six months in that case and ordered him to pay a $300 fine. He never paid and was ordered to serve another three days in jail.
Waxman did not return a call seeking comment.
Police say that on Friday, Gough didn't wait for police to approach him. Riding a bicycle at East 25th Street and Harford Road, he pulled a gun and fired at officers who had pulled up behind him in an unmarked car, police say.
Rice, a military veteran who was shot during overseas combat, was struck in the neck, and the bullet lodged near a lung. Officers returned fire and wounded Gough, who, according to one law enforcement source, is now paralyzed from the waist down as a result.
City officials cite statistics that show the average amount of jail time served by misdemeanor gun offenders — like Gough — is just four months, and 82 percent of jail time imposed by the court system for gun offenders was suspended.
Rawlings-Blake is pushing legislation that would set a mandatory minimum sentence of 18 months and a maximum sentence of 10 years for those arrested with an illegal, loaded firearm. But legislators appear to have reservations about the proposal. Both the Senate and House of Delegates have held hearings, but neither body has voted the bill out of committee.
"We're hopeful that people all across the state say here is something we can do to make our community instantly safer from these maniacs with guns who are running around," Bealefeld said. "These men and women are out there risking their lives … willing to suffer any hazard to make this city safer."
Before the day was through, officers were scrambling to deal with another spate of shootings over a span of less than two hours Monday night. Officers were on the scene of at least four shootings in Northeast, North and East Baltimore, officials said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Annie Linskey contributed to this article.
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