Concern over crime against Latinos, already simmering in Baltimore as a result of several recent attacks, has reached new heights after the fatal beating over the weekend of a 51-year-old man from Honduras, the Baltimore Sun reports. Martin Reyes – whose killing early Saturday was attributed by police to a mentally troubled man who said he hated “Mexicans” – was the fifth Latino shooting or homicide victim in the area in less than two months. All the victims were Honduran.
“We’re afraid that they’re trying to finish off the Hispanics,” said Anibal Rodriguez, 30, a Honduran laborer who moved to Baltimore five years ago and who was sitting yesterday on steps of a house across from where Reyes died. Rodriguez echoed a common view that some Latinos fear reporting crimes to the police because many are in the United States illegally. City officials appear to be scrambling to address the Latino community’s concerns. Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld and Deputy Mayor Christopher Thomaskutty plan to join members of the clergy and leaders of the NAACP and other organizations at a news conference today to call attention to the violence.A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she is “deeply troubled by the recent attacks” and that her staff was working with CASA de Maryland, a community action group, to arrange a public meeting on the issue.