Two men in custody for double shooting in West Baltimore

Baltimore detectives have taken two men into custody they suspect were involved in a double shooting Monday night that left one man dead, police said Tuesday.

The men, whom police did not name, are being held in connection with the death of a 34-year-old man who was shot in a house in the 1900 block of Bentalou St. in West Baltimore.

An 11-year-old boy who was also shot is expected to survive, police said. The boy, who suffered a wound in the lower half of his body, ran two blocks to summon officers who were on foot patrol nearby.

Officers ran to the scene, police Sgt. Eric Kowalczyk said, and found the two suspects still in the house.

"Because officers were right there, we were able to take people into custody," Kowalczyk said. He said the men would be charged.

Drops of dried blood remained Tuesday, hours after the shooting, on the porch steps to the rowhouse. Neighbors said a young boy and an adult man had lived in the house for a year or less.

Police said the shots rang out at about 9:20 p.m. The crime scene was in the Greater Mondawmin neighborhood, where police have tried this year to cut a rising homicide rate.

Sixteen people have been killed this year in the 3-square-mile area that makes up the Western District. Police commanders have flooded West Baltimore with extra officers since early March.

The extra foot patrols are part of a citywide initiative to cover as much of the city with officers as possible to create a visible crime deterrent and cut down on the homicide rate, which in early March was up more than 30 percent over last year.

The increased vigilance appears to have slowed the increase: On Tuesday, Baltimore's homicide count for 2013 stood at 51, seven murders — 16 percent — more than the same time last year.

"The reason we were able to have these two people in custody is because we had officers walking foot last night," Kowalczyk said.

The foot patrol initiative was scheduled to end this month, but Kowalczyk said it will continue in West Baltimore "for the foreseeable future" so commanders can see how it affects crime trends.

Also Tuesday, police asked the community for help locating a man wanted for questioning in the Feb. 21 death of Michael Jones, 38, in West Baltimore.

Jones was shot multiple times at about 10:15 p.m. in the 500 block of N. Fremont Ave. in Harlem Park. A picture of the man wearing a blue sweatshirt and sneakers was posted on Baltimore police's Twitter account.

Police asked anyone capable of identifying the man, or anyone who has information about the death of Jones, to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

At a community meeting last week at Celebration Church on N. Monroe St., police commanders asked West Baltimore residents to report crimes, and to help create sports and mentoring programs for area youth.

On Monday, an 80-year-old man was killed in the 5600 block of Midwood Ave. in Cameron Village after an argument, police said.

Police said John Wood had an argument with a man, who hit Wood with a closed fist, causing him to fall backward down a hill and hit his head on some steps.

Wood was pronounced dead at Sinai Hospital at 1:15 p.m.

"We have good leads with this one, lots of good witness information and a possible warrant for a suspect," Detective Vernon Davis said.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

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