The Baltimore Sun attempts to put a face on murder in that city by profiling all 45 people who were killed in July, a toll that matched the deadliest month in the city’s modern history. The murders came amid a violent crime surge that followed Freddie Gray’s death in police custody in April. The homicides occurred across the city, overwhelmingly in poor neighborhoods. Forty-four of the victims were male and all but two of them black. Many had serious criminal records. The victims also included a 5-month-old boy, a 53-year-old grandmother, a teen stabbed to death in a dispute over a cell phone and a carryout deliveryman killed in a robbery.
They left behind scores of grieving relatives, including dozens of children and stepchildren who will grow up without fathers — a city’s deadly legacy. The Sun used social media biographies and talked to relatives, friends, neighbors and police to profile the dead and chronicle the impact on those left behind. City and police officials have offered several theories about the homicide increase. Among them: a dispute within the Black Guerrilla Family gang and the possible fallout in the illegal drug trade after pharmaceuticals were looted during spring rioting in Baltimore. Petty disputes and narcotics played a role in many of the July cases.