Bal­ti­more boy, 2, shot in ‘act of road rage’

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Kevin Rec­tor

A 2-year-old boy was shot in the stom­ach in Bal­ti­more early Sat­ur­day in what Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Michael Har­ri­son de­nounced as “an act of road rage,” spurring fed­eral of­fi­cials to of­fer a $15,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to an ar­rest.

The wound­ing of the boy is the lat­est in­ci­dent in the city in which a young child in a ve­hi­cle is be­lieved to have been caught in the cross­fire of adults un­leash­ing rounds around them.

“Crimes like this sim­ply can­not and will not be tol­er­ated in a civ­i­lized so­ci­ety and in a great city like Bal­ti­more,” Har­ri­son said. “I know that many of you share my ou­trage. So I’m ask­ing as the po­lice com­mis­sioner, as a city res­i­dent, as a fa­ther, for your help to iden­tify and ar­rest the per­son re­spon­si­ble for this cow­ardly, vi­o­lent act.”

The city’s Shot Spot­ter sys­tem, which cap­tures the sound of gun­fire, brought of­fi­cers to the 600 block of West Franklin Street., in the Se­ton Hill neigh­bor­hood, at 12:34 a.m., though they found no vic­tims there, po­lice said. Soon af­ter, of­fi­cers were called to an area hos­pi­tal, where the boy was be­ing treated.

Har­ri­son said po­lice be­lieve the driver of the ve­hi­cle the boy was rid­ing in had been stopped be­hind other ve­hi­cles at a red light. When the light turned green and the cars didn’t move, the driver “blew the horn sev­eral times,” and then drove around the other cars at the light.

Po­lice be­lieve that at that point, the driver of the first car at the light “fol­lowed and caught up to the vic­tim’s ve­hi­cle, and then fired from his ve­hi­cle into the vic­tim’s ve­hi­cle, strik­ing the child,” Har­ri­son said.

He said be­fore noon Sat­ur­day that the boy was in “some­what sta­ble con­di­tion and is ex­pected to sur­vive.” He said de­tec­tives were in touch with the boy’s fam­ily.

The fed­eral Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives, which in­ves­ti­gates se­ri­ous gun crimes in the city, of­fered a $15,000 cash re­ward. The agency said the sus­pect, who was driv­ing a sil­ver or gray mini­van, should be con­sid­ered “armed and dan­ger­ous.”

Po­lice and ATF agents are search­ing for a sil­ver Mazda MPV van in con­nec­tion with the shoot­ing. They de­scribe the driver as a heavy-set African Amer­i­can male with dread­locks.

“Vi­o­lent crime and gun vi­o­lence in Bal­ti­more City af­fects all of our cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing our youngest and most in­no­cent. What hap­pened to this child is a ter­ri­ble real­ity that we have seen hap­pen too many times be­fore,” said Rob Cekada, ATF Bal­ti­more spe­cial agent in charge. “We ask that the com­mu­nity join us in that fight.”

Be­sides call­ing on the pub­lic for in­for­ma­tion, Har­ri­son ap­pealed di­rectly to that gun­man to turn him­self in and face the con­se­quences of his ac­tions.

“Who­ever you are, please turn your­self in. You shot a child,” Har­ri­son said. “Who­ever you thought you were shoot­ing at, you didn’t shoot. You shot a child, a 2-year-old.”

The in­ci­dent calls to mind other re­cent shoot­ings of chil­dren in ve­hi­cles.

In Au­gust, a West Bal­ti­more man was found guilty of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in the 2018 shoot­ing death of 7-year-old Tay­lor Hayes. Pros­e­cu­tors said Keon Gray was driv­ing a Mercedes when he en­gaged in a shootout with a man rid­ing in the same Honda Ac­cord where Tay­lor sat in the back­seat.

In 2013, 16-month-old Carter Scott was killed while in an in­fant seat in the rear of his fa­ther’s car af­ter it was am­bushed by gun­men wear­ing masks and la­tex gloves. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­sulted in con­vic­tions of mul­ti­ple men.

Scott’s fa­ther, Rashaw Scott, who at one point re­fused to tes­tify against his son’s al­leged killers, was later killed him­self in a sep­a­rate shoot­ing.

Last month, a 3-year-old boy was rushed to an area hos­pi­tal with a gun­shot wound to the ab­domen, and re­spond­ing of­fi­cers se­cured the par­ents’ ve­hi­cle as a po­ten­tial crime scene. But they also dis­cov­ered ev­i­dence of a shoot­ing in­side the fam­ily’s home, and said they be­lieved the shoot­ing was ac­ci­den­tal.

Har­ri­son said the in­ci­dents speak to “a cul­ture of vi­o­lence” that must be stamped out in Bal­ti­more.

“It’s deep-rooted, where peo­ple want to set­tle their dis­putes us­ing firearms,” many of them il­le­gally ob­tained, Har­ri­son said. “That’s a deep-rooted cul­ture, and un­til we change that cul­ture, we’re go­ing to have prob­lems.”

Po­lice ask any­one with in­for­ma­tion in the shoot­ing of the young boy to call Cen­tral Dis­trict de­tec­tives at 410-396-2411 or Metro Crime Stop­pers at 1-866-7-LOCKUP.

On Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon, a 25-year-old man was shot dead in East Bal­ti­more’s Perkins Homes com­mu­nity.

The man was found suf­fer­ing from gun­shot wounds in the 200 block of Her­ring Court at 1:14 p.m. on Sat­ur­day, Bal­ti­more Po­lice said. He died at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

Po­lice ask any­one with in­for­ma­tion in the shoot­ing to call homi­cide de­tec­tives at 410-396-2100.

Through Sat­ur­day, there had been 268 homi­cides in Bal­ti­more this year, com­pared with 241 at the same time last year. At least 628 other peo­ple have been wounded by gun­fire this year, 100 more than this time last year.

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