Baltimore Neighborhoods Bond Through Second Ceasefire Weekend of 2017

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Baltimore moved one step closer to a weekend with no murders over the last three days, thanks wholeheartedly to the grassroots Baltimore Ceasefire campaign.

Since the motto of Ceasefire is “Nobody Kill Anybody for 72 Hours,” most probably want to know the numbers:

  • Friday began with a morning and afternoon of no shootings. Then, around 5:10 p.m., police say a 38-year-old man was hospitalized after being shot multiple times in the 1900 block of Hollins Street in Southwest Baltimore.
  • Saturday saw the city’s first murder of the weekend just after midnight. The victim was an out-of-towner: Metropolitan Police Sgt. Tony Anthony Mason, a 17-year D.C. police veteran who was off-duty and sitting in a parked car on Elgin Avenue, several blocks west of the Coppin State University campus. Police say he and another victim, a 43-year-old woman, were hit by gunfire. Mason died in the hospital, while she was treated for her injury. The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.
  • Another person was also wounded 15 minutes earlier on the opposite side of town. Police say the victim, a 34-year-old man, was shot in the stomach in the 4200 block of Monument Street in Orangeville, at the edge of East Baltimore. He was hospitalized and treated.

No other shootings occurred for the next 48 hours, according to police media relations chief T.J. Smith. The tally from the weekend stands at one dead and three wounded.

Ceasefire organizers are counting it as a win. Participants noted on Facebook that the city went just over 24 hours with no murders to start, followed by another 48 (47, if you want to factor in daylight savings time) hours with no shootings. For a frame of reference, the last Ceasefire weekend in August yielded two dead and four wounded in shootings.

But as co-organizer Erricka Bridgeford told Baltimore Fishbowl in the lead-up to this weekend, the Ceasefire campaign is about more than just statistics: “It’s not just about not killing anybody. It’s also just about us checking our responses to conflict and our thought processes around conflict.”

Those responses have come in the form of dozens of community gatherings — “life-affirming events,” Bridgeford called them. Ceasefire organizers say residents participated in 35 community events this weekend, including a three-day-long basketball tournament at the city’s storied Cloverdale Courts in Penn North, film screenings, art showings, a barbecue, a dance party in the Edmondson Village Shopping Center and vigils throughout.

In the case of Mason’s murder, organizers and residents showed up at the spot where he was killed on Elgin Avenue in West Baltimore to pray and show unity for the neighborhood. Participants acted similarly during the bloodier Ceasefire weekend in August, lighting candles and forming prayer circles at murder sites.

This weekend concluded with a candlelight vigil in the Abell neighborhood, held in memory of the 301 people who have been murdered in Baltimore so far this year, The Sun reports.

Bridgeford previously said Ceasefire organizers plan to hold events quarterly for as long as they need to.

“Our goal is to keep doing it and providing resources and helping shift the culture and the narrative about what Baltimore is until we reach a place in our evolution in this city where a Ceasefire is not necessary,” she said.

Ethan McLeod
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