Police can't be everywhere, but they're usually laser-focused on a city block in the immediate wake of a shooting.
That made the fatal shooting of Kwane Davis, 36, in the 2600 block of Grogan Avenue on Monday night all the more brazen.
Davis was shot in the chest at about 11:30 p.m., not long after commanders, patrol officers and crime scene technicians had cleared out following a double shooting that injured two earlier in the night, in the same block. Investigators believe that Davis may have been the intended target in the first shooting.
Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts has spoken often about the agency doing a better of job of preventing subsequent violence following a shooting incident, and it is common for an officer to be assigned to keep watch over a block after a shooting.
Col. Dean Palmere, the head of the investigations and intelligence division, said police had a dozen officers working foot patrols in the Eastern District, and an officer was just a block away when the second shooting occurred.
"The criminals are out there; they are elusive and they're watching the police activity," Palmere said. "This is just one of those anomalies that happens. It wasn't for a lack of effort from the police in the Eastern District. We simply did not have an officer planted in that block."
At the scene, blood filled the cracks of a portion of sidewalk in front of an unsecured vacant home, and two empty liquor bottles rested near the curb. Two groups of people declined to talk to a reporter; one woman identified herself as the wife of the fatal shooting victim, but said she did not want media coverage. Remnants of crime scene tape fluttered in the wind.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said there have been several reports of shots fired in the block in recent days, before the shootings.
The first shooting was reported at 5:56 p.m. Eastern District officers patrolling the 1300 block of N. Luzerne Ave. were flagged down by a man who told them he had been shot, police said.
Police said the victim was conscious and responsive and told officers he was in the rear of a home on Luzerne Avenue near the intersection of Grogan Avenue when he was shot in the right arm. He also said his cousin had been standing next to him and was also shot. But he didn't know where his cousin had gone afterward, police said.
At 6:43 p.m., a man walked into Johns Hopkins Hospital emergency room with a graze wound to his upper body. Detectives believe he was the cousin the man was referring to, police said.
Less than five hours later, Baltimore police say, they found Davis, who was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. at an area hospital.
Detectives are investigating possible connections between the shootings, and Guglielmi said there were promising leads.
The Grogan Avenue street shootings were not the only ones to occur Monday. Across town in West Baltimore, officers responded to a double shooting in the Bridgeview-Greenlawn neighborhood at 11:45 p.m. Police said three unidentified suspects entered the 1100 block of N. Bentalou St. and approached the victims, who were in a crowd of other men.
Officers found one man suffering from gunshot wounds to the shoulder, abdomen and leg. A second man was also found suffering from gunshot wounds to both legs. Both victims were expected to survive, police said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin George contributed to this article.