While you weren’t looking last week, Baltimore was enjoying a much-needed respite from its numbing homicide streak.
The city went six full days without a murder before the spell was broken yesterday. On Monday, Nov. 6, Winfield Parker was murdered in a triple shooting at Destiny Auto Body Shop in the 5200 block of Fairlawn Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. The other victims, a 27-year-old male and a 26-year-old female, survived. Police said the shooting was likely targeted.
Then, the killings stopped — and for more than just several days. From Monday at noon through Sunday at 2:30 p.m., no one was murdered in Baltimore.
There were several shootings that left victims wounded: a 20-year-old man shot in the shoulder in East Baltimore’s Biddle Street section on Tuesday; a 27-year-old man with multiple wounds from a Thursday evening shooting in Franklin Square in West Baltimore; a 17-year-old male shot in the back on Saturday near Coppin State University.
But for almost a week, Baltimore’s murder total remained stuck in place at 303. The last time the city went that long without a homicide was in early March, when the gap in killings stretched from Feb. 28 to March 8, according to Baltimore Fishbowl’s email archive of police releases.
It ended yesterday. Dashon Griffin, 26, was gunned down at around 2:40 p.m. by a masked shooter while leaving a store in Washington Hill, police said last night. Five hours later, 33-year-old Gerald Gardner was shot dead sitting in his car near his Clifton Park home.
The recent respite in killings came a week after residents unified for the second annual Baltimore Ceasefire weekend of the year. Led by community mediator Erricka Bridgeford and her co-organizers, neighborhoods banded together from Nov. 3-5 for a weekend of non-violence. One person was killed – an off-duty veteran D.C. Police sergeant named Tony Anthony Mason, whose murder remains unsolved – but participants nonetheless counted the movement as a success, celebrating peace with dozens of events ranging from basketball tournaments and barbecues to prayer circles.
As Bridgeford told Baltimore Fishbowl in the lead-up to the most recent Ceasefire weekend, Baltimore’s problem with gun violence is systemic, beginning with a dearth of neighborhood morale, poor police-community relations and a competitive black market for drugs.
Convincing shooters to put down firearms for a weekend requires sympathy and forging of new bonds at the most basic human level, she said: “A huge piece of it is having real conversations with people to connect each other with what it is in our lives.”
Baltimore’s homicide total now stands at 305 on the year. Last year, the city had 344. With another potential break in murders during the holidays, the city stands a chance of bringing its tally down for 2017.
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