Baltimore officials are appealing to the public for information following a shooting at a crowded block party in the city’s Brooklyn neighborhood. The incident, which occurred early on Sunday, left two people dead and 28 others wounded, including several teenagers.
Authorities are still trying to determine the motive behind the shooting, which took place at around 12:30 a.m. Multiple assailants were involved, although it remains unclear whether the victims were specifically targeted.
One of the victims, 18-year-old Aaliyah Gonzales, was pronounced dead at the scene. Another victim, 20-year-old Kylis Fagbemi, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. The wounded individuals, ranging in age from 13 to 32, were taken to hospitals for treatment. At least a dozen of the victims were under the age of 18, and most had been discharged by Sunday afternoon.
During a news conference, Baltimore’s acting police commissioner, Col. Richard Worley, provided details on the victims’ ages. He expressed concern over the number of young people affected by the shooting, emphasizing the need for increased accountability and intervention from the community.
Mayor Brandon Scott described the incident as a “reckless, cowardly act” and condemned adults who failed to intervene. He called for a stronger sense of accountability within the community, urging individuals to report dangerous behavior to law enforcement instead of promoting it on social media for attention.
The wounded victims included girls aged 13, 14, and two 15-year-olds, as well as three 16-year-olds and two 17-year-olds. Among the injured women were two 18-year-olds, three 19-year-olds, a 20-year-old, a 23-year-old, and a 32-year-old. Teenage boys aged 13, 15, two 16-year-olds, and two 17-year-olds were also injured, along with three 18-year-old men, a 22-year-old man, and a 31-year-old man.
Mayor Scott emphasized the urgent need to address issues such as access to illegal firearms and other factors contributing to gun violence in the city. Baltimore has been grappling with a persistently high homicide rate, with over 300 homicides recorded annually for the past eight years. By mid-2023, there had already been 138 homicides, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The scene of the shooting remained active as officers and detectives continued their investigation. Streets were strewn with shell casings and party debris from the unauthorized gathering, which had attracted hundreds of attendees. The Brooklyn Homes public housing complex, consisting of around 500 units housing approximately 1,100 people, was the location of the incident.
Phylicia Porter, the councilwoman representing the neighborhood, described the shooting as a “wake-up call” and urged community members to channel their anger into demanding meaningful change. Larry Wallace, a community activist and former Brooklyn resident, expressed concern for Baltimore’s young population and emphasized the need for more opportunities and activities for the city’s children.
In response to the shooting, the mayor’s office pledged to allocate resources to the affected neighborhood. These resources would focus on addressing trauma and stabilizing the community through partnerships with local organizations and city agencies.
State’s attorney Ivan J. Bates expressed his outrage on Twitter and called for more than just thoughts and prayers. He emphasized the need for policy changes in Maryland, particularly in Baltimore, to hold repeat violent offenders accountable and reduce the presence of illegal firearms in communities.
The shooting serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by Baltimore and the urgent need for comprehensive efforts to curb gun violence and improve the safety and well-being of its residents.