Frustrated Baltimore officials urged residents Sunday to come forward with information about a shooting at a crowded neighborhood block party that killed two people and injured 28 others, many of them teenagers .
The motive for the shooting, which happened at 12:30 a.m. in Brooklyn, a neighborhood south of Baltimore, was not clear, but officials said there were more than one assailant. It was not clear whether the victims were targeted.
Authorities say 18-year-old Aaliyah Gonzales died at the scene of the shooting at the Brooklyn Homes public housing complex. Police said the 20-year-old man, Kylis Fagbemi, was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The victims ranged in age from 13 to 32, the city’s acting police commissioner, Colonel Richard Worley, told a news conference on Sunday afternoon.
He said police were still verifying the ages of all the victims, but more than a dozen of them were under 18. By Sunday afternoon, all the victims except nine had been discharged from hospitals.
At a news conference, the city’s mayor, Brandon Scott, called the shooting a “reckless, cowardly act”. He cited footage of the shootings that surfaced on social media and criticized adults in the community who did not intervene.
He called for a “better level of accountability” and said the community should not ignore “some grown man filming a young man pulling out a gun”. He said that people who see dangerous behavior should contact law enforcement officials instead of posting videos “to get likes on Instagram”.
Among those with non-fatal injuries were girls aged 13 and 14, two 15-year-olds, three 16-year-olds and two 17-year-olds. The injured women include two 18-year-olds, three 19-year-olds, a 20-year-old, a 23-year-old and a 32-year-old.
Apart from this, teenage boys aged 13 and 15, two children aged 16 and 17 were also injured. There were also males with non-fatal injuries: three 18-year-olds, one 22-year-old and one 31-year-old.
Mr Scott said the shooting highlighted the need to address access to illegal guns and other factors that contribute to gun violence.
About two dozen officers and detectives were present at the shooting site on Sunday afternoon. Shells and debris from the party, which authorities said was an unauthorized event attended by hundreds of people, are still strewn in the streets from the previous night.
The residential complex, with its mud-brick buildings and maroon-colored front doors, has about 500 units for about 1,100 people. Amidst all of Sunday’s activity, some residents were gazing outside or sitting on their front steps.
Phylicia Porter, a councilwoman representing the neighborhood, said the shooting was a “wake-up bell” and asked community members to turn their anger into demands for “meaningful change”.
“This incident reflects a serious failure of our systems and is completely unacceptable,” he added.
Larry Wallace, a 60-year-old community activist who grew up a few blocks away in Brooklyn, said the neighborhood was “really rough”. He said he is concerned for the youth of Baltimore.
This year, shooting incidents involving children and teens have increased an official city curfew For children 16 years of age and under. Alerts come by phone and via social media to remind residents that the city’s youth need to stay indoors by a certain amount of time.
“The kids in this city need a lot more to do,” said Mr. Wallace, who has a teenage daughter.
mayor’s office said In response to the shooting, it will put resources into the neighborhood “in partnership with community-based organizations and city agencies focused on addressing trauma and stabilizing neighborhoods.”
State’s Attorney Evan J. Bates expressed outrage over the firing on Twitter and offered “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families.
He added: “But we need more than thoughts and prayers; We need policy and change in Maryland, especially in Baltimore. A policy that helps us hold repeat violent offenders accountable and reduces the number of illegal firearms in our communities.
at tiffany, Emma Bubola And Livia Albeck-Ripka Contributed reporting.