The Baltimore police reported a mass shooting overnight Saturday at a block party in the Brooklyn neighborhood of South Baltimore. Two people were killed and 28 were injured, with three in critical condition. The suspects have not been found as of this writing.
The incident is the largest mass shooting in the city in over a decade, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The police say the two people killed were an 18-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man. Victims reportedly ranged from 21 to 34 years old.
“Me and Aaron were waiting for him to be seen when the first car came pulling in and we ended up helping get him in the ER,” said a local resident on social media about the scene at the hospital. “The next thing you know, car after car, kid after kid just kept pulling in and jumping out, all got shot somewhere on their body.” The resident noted that a car “pulled right up to the door bringing two girls… that were shot… it’s crazy and so sad they were all babies!!”
The mass shooting is the fifth the city has seen in 2023, with the police reporting nearly 130 homicides and almost 300 shootings so far this year. It occurred around 12:30 AM at a block party associated with the neighborhood’s annual “Brooklyn Day” festivities.
Nineteen victims were sent to MedStar Harbor Hospital, all of whom were “suffering varying degrees of injury from gunshot wounds,” according to hospital spokespeople.
One resident told the Baltimore Sun that “not a day goes by we don’t hear shots.”
In January 2022 the Democratic mayor launched a pilot program called Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) in the Western District, which historically is the most impoverished and violent part of the city. The 2015 police murder of 25-year old Freddie Gray occurred in the Western District.
Homicides and nonfatal shootings in the district declined by 34 percent in 2022 due to the GVRS program, although they have started to increase again this year.
“There’s nothing to do around here, there’s no pools, no movie theaters; [nothing] that a kid on summer break would want to do,” a 20-year resident of the neighborhood told the World Socialist Web Site. “My heart hurts for those families,” she said, adding that she was doing all she could to “get my babies out of here.”
The 2020 US Census reports that the city has a 20.3 percent poverty rate, with a per capita income of $34,378. These statistics persist even as Baltimore’s unemployment rates have dropped to historic lows, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting last month that unemployment in the city was less than two percent.
In Baltimore City as a whole, there were 4,845 violent crimes, a 7.2 percent decrease compared to the same time last year, but with property crimes up by 34.47 percent this year.
Shootings tend to accelerate during the summer. Nationwide there have been a total of 21,500 deaths due to gun violence, including homicides and suicides, and 338 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.