Crimes and cur­fews dis­cussed fol­low­ing Mid­dle River homi­cide

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

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.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF GOOGLE MAPS.

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.

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