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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Shooting in Baltimore leaves at least 2 dead and 28 wounded


An aerial view of the scene of the shooting at a development called Brooklyn Homes in Baltimore.

By Donna Owens and Amanda Holpuch


Frustrated Baltimore officials pleaded on Sunday with residents to come forward with information about a shooting at a crowded neighborhood block party that left two people dead and 28 others wounded, many of them teenagers.


A motive for the shooting, which was reported at 12:30 a.m. in Baltimore’s southern neighborhood of Brooklyn, was unclear, but authorities said there was more than one assailant. It was unclear whether the victims were targeted.


Officials said an 18-year-old woman, Aaliyah Gonzales, was dead at the scene of the shooting, which happened at Brooklyn Homes, a public housing complex. A 20-year-old man, Kylis Fagbemi, was later pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.


The victims were between 13 and 32 years old, the city’s acting police commissioner, Col. Richard Worley, said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.


He said that police were still confirming the ages of all of the victims, but that more than a dozen of them were younger than 18. By Sunday afternoon, all but nine of the victims had been discharged from hospitals.


At the news conference, Brandon Scott, the city’s mayor, called the shooting a “reckless, cowardly act.” He cited footage of the shooting, which surfaced on social media, and criticized adults in the community who did not intervene.


He called for a “better level of accountability” and said the community should not condone “some grown man filming some young person pull out a gun.” He said those who witness dangerous behavior should contact law enforcement authorities instead of posting videos “to get likes on Instagram.”


The nonfatal female victims injured were one 13-year-old, one 14-year-old, two 15-year-olds, three 16-year-olds, two 17-year-olds, two 18-year-olds, three 19-year-olds, one 20-year-old, one 23-year-old and one 32-year-old. The nonfatal male victims injured were one 13-year-old, one 15-year-old, two 16-year-olds, two 17-year-olds, three 18-year-olds, one 22-year-old and one 31-year-old.


Scott said that the shooting highlighted the need to address access to illegal guns and other factors that contribute to gun violence.


In 2022, Baltimore recorded more than 300 homicides for the eighth consecutive year, despite new initiatives by city officials. In the first half of 2023, there had been 138, according to The Baltimore Sun.


On Sunday afternoon, about two dozen officers and detectives remained at the scene of the shooting. Shell casings and debris from the party, which officials described as an unauthorized event that drew hundreds, still littered the streets from the night before.


The housing complex, with its squat brick buildings and maroon-colored front doors, has about 500 units for about 1,100 people. Amid all of the activity Sunday, some residents peeked outside or sat on their front steps.


A council member who represents the neighborhood, Phylicia Porter, said that the shooting was a “wake-up call” and asked community members to channel their anger into demands for “meaningful change.”


“This incident represents a grave failure of our systems, and it is completely unacceptable,” she said.


Larry Wallace, 60, a community activist who grew up a few blocks away from Brooklyn, said that the neighborhood was “really rough.” He said he was concerned for the young people of Baltimore.


This year, there has been an increase in shootings involving children and teenagers, leading to an official city curfew for children 16 and younger. Alerts come to phones and through social media to remind residents that the city’s youth need to be indoors by a certain time.


“The kids in this city need more to do,” said Wallace, who has a teenage daughter.


The mayor’s office said that in response to the shooting, it would put resources in the neighborhood “focused on addressing trauma and stabilizing the neighborhood in partnership with community-based organizations and city agencies.”


The state’s attorney, Ivan J. Bates, expressed outrage about the shooting on Twitter and extended “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families.


He added: “But we need more than thoughts and prayers; we need policy and change in Maryland, particularly in Baltimore. A policy that helps us hold repeat violent offenders accountable and reduces the number of illegal firearms in our communities.”

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