Parsing reaction from city officials on weekend violence

June 25, 2013|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

As shootings rang out across the city over the weekend at a clip not seen in years, a Baltimore police spokesman offered a statement that the department was "all in all pretty satisfied with the way the city is headed, violence-wise."

Anthony Guglielmi's comments were the only public statements available from the department or the city until Monday, and drew criticism from some who said he was downplaying the severity of an outburst of 20 shootings, eight of them fatal.

Some of the city's top officials have since weighed in on the violence by striking a similar tone that sought to place the weekend in a broader context.

Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts: "We're having an unusually high spike this weekend. I actually was pleased in the last 45, 60 days the way crime was going. We were trending down. Our locations that traditionally run high - the Eastern, the Western - are both trending down into the weekend."

"I'd like to send my condolences to the families of the eight residents of our city that lost their lives. That's something we take very seriously. Some of the homicides that have taken place, some of those who were involved, not at all, some of them had drug-related backgrounds, in crime-related areas."

Batts said Washington and Chicago had both had violent weekends recently.

He also said that police "anticipated we will most likely have violence at this time of year" but said it was still "unacceptable."

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake spoke to ABC2News from Las Vegas, where she is attending a conference, and said the city had to do more, but pointed to a violent weekend in Washington DC. [Four were killed over the course of last week in DC, where there have been 38 homicides this year.]

Some of her comments are below:

-"The tragedy of all this is that we can get better, we are doing better, but it doesn't bring one of them back."

-"We have reduced violent crime across the board. Juvenile homicides are down."

-"I don't want to see another weekend like we had, but when I think about the progres we've made, that's what gives me hope that we can do better."

State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein took a different tack. On Marc Steiner's radio show, he said: "Any gun violence in our city is unacceptable, and we need to be working 24-7 to prevent it."

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