After an unidentified male victim was hospitalized following a shooting in Northeast Baltimore’s Belair-Edison neighborhood late Sunday afternoon, homicide detectives launched an investigation and residents of the close-knit residential area called on city officials to invest more in their community.
Baltimore police officers responded around 4:40 p.m. to reports of a shooting in the 3400 block of Mannasota Avenue east of Clifton Park and about two blocks south of Belair Road. Officials said homicide detectives assumed control of the investigation because the victim was seriously injured.
Police have not identified the victim, but neighbors said he looked young, potentially a teenager.
That shooting added to the carnage from an already violent weekend across Baltimore. Between Friday night and Saturday, three people died and five others were injured in shootings and an aggravated assault. At least three more were injured in gunfire Saturday night.
On Friday morning, a quadruple shooting on North Avenue in West Baltimore left two dead, and police said one of the injured victims was waiting at a nearby bus stop when gunfire broke out. The suspects in that case jumped out of a stolen car and started shooting, then carjacked another vehicle to make their escape, crashed it a short distance away and ran away.
At the scene Sunday evening in Belair-Edison, light rain fell while detectives processed the evidence. They sorted through a pile of clothes, two tennis shoes and a backpack that were lying on the sidewalk where the victim collapsed.
Neighbors reported hearing a single gunshot.
One woman, who lives around the corner from the shooting scene, said she and her little white dog “hit the floor” because the gunfire was so loud.
“It is totally ridiculous how all this is going on,” she said in frustration, asking to remain anonymous out of concern for her safety. “It’s treacherous around here. It’s horrific. Something has got to be done.”
Eight years ago when she moved into the neighborhood, she had less reason to worry. But now, she avoids sitting on her front porch unless her neighbors are around. She watches her grandchildren like a hawk when they play outside. In 2019, her son was carjacked at gunpoint right outside her house, the woman said.
She called for basic security improvements, including more streetlights and better upkeep of a vacant rowhouse at the corner of Mannasota and Brendan avenues — the building closest to where the gunshot victim collapsed. One of the only vacant homes on the block, its overgrown bushes make for poor visibility when rounding that corner, neighbors said.
“It’s scary, man. It’s scary and sad. It really is,” said another longtime resident who requested anonymity because of safety concerns. He was worried about the possibility for retaliation after the Sunday afternoon shooting.
“You don’t know what that might bring,” he said. “This could trigger a war.”
The man said he runs a catering business and sometimes gets paid in cash. When that happens, he stays vigilant when coming and going from his house, afraid of getting robbed. He said people who congregate at the businesses along Belair Road sometimes venture south into the residential areas looking for unsavory opportunities.
“I know the police can’t be everywhere, but they need to start focusing on Belair Road more,” he said.
City officials have touted the success of their Safe Streets office in the neighborhood. The program, which operates out of 10 sites citywide, deploys so-called violence interrupters to intervene in potential conflicts and discourage retaliation. In December, the office celebrated a year of zero homicides inside the Safe Streets zone, which covers most of the neighborhood.
Hours before the shooting, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison attended an event at nearby Clifton Park, an annual celebration and back-to-school giveaway hosted by the local nonprofit Hug Don’t Shoot. The organization aims to promote peace and help families across Baltimore prosper.
Anyone with information about the Mannasota Avenue shooting is urged to contact homicide detectives, at 410-396-2100. Those who wish to remain anonymous can use the Metro Crime Stoppers tip line, at 1-866-7LOCKUP. They also can text tips through the Metro Crime Stoppers of Maryland website.