BALTIMORE (AP) — A gunman fired indiscriminately into a crowd that had gathered for cookouts on a street in Baltimore, wounding seven people including one of them fatally on Sunday, the city’s police commissioner said.
Authorities said the shooting happened around 5 p.m. on a block in the city’s western district.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said a black male approached a crowd on foot and began firing in what he called “a very tragic, very cowardly shooting.”
Speaking at the scene, Harrison said the shooting appeared to be “extremely targeted” but he did not immediately elaborate on a possible motive.
The shooting comes roughly six weeks after Harrison’s swearing-in last month as Baltimore police commissioner, when he promised to make the city safer and lead the department through sweeping reforms required by a federal consent decree. It’s a daunting task in one of the country’s poorest major cities where there were more than 300 homicides in each of the past two years. Harrison is the city’s 14th police leader since the mid-1990s.
The commissioner said there were two cookouts occurring on opposite sides of the street at the time, and that shell casings were found in two different locations, indicating that there may have been a second gunman, or someone firing back at the first shooter, who fled on foot.
It was unclear whether the cookouts were related, Harrison said.
One man who was shot collapsed behind a nearby church and was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It wasn’t anything dealing with the church. I want to make that very clear,” acting mayor Jack Young said.
Harrison and Young urged members of the public to help investigators.
“Someone knows something,” Young said. “These things ... they don’t happen by happenstance. People know who’s doing these shootings.”