Crimes and curfews discussed following Middle River homicide
In the late evening of Monday, July 31, a teenager was shot and killed on the 700 block of Peterson Rd. in Middle River, shocking the relatively quiet community and reigniting conversations on crime and public safety.
Before midnight, a group of residents was sitting behind a 7-11 convenience store when at least one suspect began shooting at them from “an alley a distance away before fleeing the scene”.
The Baltimore County Police Department identified the victim as 13-year-old Iyanna Watkins. She was pronounced dead that the scene after suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to her upper and lower body.
A second victim, an adult male with at least one gunshot wound to the lower body, was located in the 500 block of Compass Rd. and transported to the hospital by medics. A third victim, also an adult male with at least one gunshot wound to the lower body, was identified after he was transported to the hospital by a family member.
Detectives do believe it was a targeted shooting and are working to determine if one or more individuals in the group were the intended target.
“Investigators are looking into the possibility that the shooting is related to an altercation that occurred earlier in the evening between this group and another group. Detectives are canvassing area businesses for surveillance video to confirm if such an altercation did occur,” states the BCoPD.
As of press time, no arrests have been made.
Police are currently still investigating the case and are encouraging anybody with information about the shooting to contact them at 410-307-2020.
Following public outcry and questions from concerned resi- dents, local officials are now pushing to start a more intensive conversation on safety and crime prevention initiatives. For example, Del. Ric Metzgar (R-6) posted several statuses on his Facebook page about the possibility of enforcing a county-wide curfew for minors.
“I’m for it,” he said. “I’m usually not about making more rules and expanding the government, but we have to do something. We need to have a conversation and see where it stands. We got to look at all the options we have and see where it goes.”
The online response was almost immediate, with his Facebook page filling up with comments both condemning and applauding the proposal.
“Several have privately reached out and said ‘ I’m for this, this is a good start’ and then there are some that said ‘Absolutely not, we don’t want the government more involved’,” Metzgar explained.
Metzgar said this idea is still open to change based on feedback and the laws that are currently on the books, but for now, he suggests a curfew of 10 p.m. for children under 13 years old and an 11 p.m. curfew for anybody under 18. He questioned why Watkins was out so late and why she was behind the convenience store, saying this case, in particular, emphasized the importance of keeping minors off the streets during the evening.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Iyanna Watkins. As a community, we need to be proactive to prevent this from happening to our kids. I don’t know if a curfew is the answer, but I agree with Del. Metzgar that we need to look into something to help these kids,” said Del. Bob Long (R-6).
“Baltimore County does not have the problems that Baltimore City has but we are moving in the wrong direction. It is time to nip this problem in its early stages,” said Del. Pat McDonough (R-6) who called for a “pro-active policing” approach.
“We would target the bad guys in the County and watch them closely, aggressively seek out outstanding warrants and strongly urge the States Attorney for maximum sentencing. I will promote Citizens on Patrol in every community. Direct our County Delegation in Annapolis to promote mandatory sentencing on gun violence crime,” he said.
“My heart has been grieving for that mother. If we can protect one kid, it’s worth it,” said Metzgar.
The scene of a shooting on the 700 block of Peterson Rd. that left a 13-year-old girl dead and two male victims injured.