In a five-part series, the Baltimore Sun describes how the city’s beleaguered police department investigates a homicide case. An uptick in violence this year began with the death of Freddie Gray in April after he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in police custody. There were 40 homicides in May, the city's deadliest month in more than four decades. Twenty-nine more in June. Then 45 in July — a record. The city has averaged more than a killing a day since Gray's death. On Nov. 14, Baltimore recorded its 300th homicide of 2015. It was the first time since 1999 that the city had reached that grim milestone. Through last Saturday evening, the death toll stood at 338.
The volume “has left overworked homicide detectives in a constant state of triage,” the Sun reports. For the current series, the police department gave the newspaper access to the homicide unit as it investigated the case of a 29-year-old man was gunned down in the middle of the afternoon on a busy street corner. A Sun reporter accompanied detectives on the street, watched them pore over leads and interview suspects, and followed them as they picked up additional cases. The Sun says that this year’s “blistering pace” of murders “has jolted the detectives' sense of reality. They're working harder but getting less accomplished.”