Bernard ‘Jack’ Young, the mayor of Baltimore, spoke about the city’s high number of murders and distanced himself from taking any blame. So far, reports have indicated that the city has had 296 homicides.
A homicide toll of nearly one killing per day, coupled with a steep decline in population in recent years, is helping Baltimore set a new mark this year for killings per capita, according to reports.
The slayings this weekend of a 36-year-old mother inside the deli where she worked – as her children watched in horror – and a 21-year-old woman who was fatally shot in the head inside her beauty salon brought Baltimore’s murder toll to 338 for 2019, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“The level of violence in this city is unacceptable and we all have to work together to address this,” Mayor Jack Young said Monday, according to Baltimore’s FOX 45.
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“I am disgusted by the brazen and cowardly acts of violence committed this weekend,” added Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, speaking to the Sun. “Detectives are working tirelessly to identify the people responsible.”
Though the 338 homicide figure for 2019 is lower than the city-record 353 murders in 1993, the city’s loss of more than 100,000 residents during the intervening years means more slayings have occurred per capita this year, with just a week remaining until 2020, the report said.
The 2019 figure includes the deaths of 37 women, the highest total since the Sun started tracking homicide victims in 2007, the newspaper reported, and more than 100 of this year’s victims have been young men and women age 18 to 25.
Compounding the misery in a place long known by the nickname “Charm City”: The city’s government and police department have been reeling from corruption in recent years, with Young’s predecessor, Catherine Pugh, resigning in May in connection with a book scandal, and at least 20 city police officers arrested, sentenced or suspended during the year for a variety of alleged offenses.
Added to that, Monday brought news that a former longtime Maryland state delegate from Baltimore was charged with federal honest services wire fraud and bribery, after allegedly accepting nearly $34,000 in bribes to support a bill that would make more licenses available to an out-of-state marijuana-growing company, Baltimore’s WJZ-TV reported.
Former state Del. Cheryl Glenn, 68, could face 20 years in prison if convicted, the station reported.
“It is extremely sad and frustrating for the city to be at this point,” City Council President Brandon Scott, a mayoral candidate, told the Sun.
Meantime, the head of the city’s police union claims that Harrison, the city’s police commissioner, has lacked the sense of urgency needed to combat daily violent crime.
“People are being killed at a record pace and there has been no change in the daily crime fight from the [police commissioner] since he arrived,” Sgt. Mike Mancuso, president of Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 3, told the Sun.
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In the latest killings, a woman named Carmen Rodriguez was killed at the deli, where she worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the Sun.
At the hair salon, a woman named Destiny Harrison was slain just two weeks after naming two people as suspects in a recent burglary at her business. Police suspect the woman's slaying may have been a revenge crime, FOX 45 reported.
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Mayor Young disagreed that city police leaders lacked a sense of urgency in dealing with crime.
“Our police department is out there every day. We have our federal, our state, our local police officers out here working the streets every day so we’re doing everything we can do,” Young told FOX 45. “You know a woman was shot in the head. Children are being shot. You don’t think that’s a sense of urgency for me? I feel it. I have three nephews who were gunned down and we have no closure, either, so I feel the pain."