Wadell Tate, 97, was bludgeoned to death in his pajamas inside the two-story rowhouse he’d owned for six decades and refused to leave. Tate, one of Baltimore’s oldest homicide victims in decades, is a symbol of the relentless violence that has claimed 211 lives so far this year. Today, Mayor Catherine Pugh is scheduled to announce her plan to tackle the record-setting surge in homicides. Whatever the city pursues will come too late for Tate, a World War II veteran and retired refinery worker who still took a short walk every day before the July 21 burglary that left him dead, the Washington Post reports.
“You’d think at 97, how much longer does he have to live?” said his daughter, Sylvia Swann, 65. “They took away his right to die on his own.” Her family’s grief and pain are familiar emotions in Baltimore, still struggling to recover from the 2015 riots after Freddie Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody. The relationship between the police and many neighborhoods remains strained. The erosion in trust has fueled the spike in violence, making Baltimore one of the nation’s deadliest cities. Last weekend, beleaguered city residents called for a 72-hour cease-fire, holding rallies, vigils and cookouts. The police are fighting crime while changing the way they operate under a Justice Department consent decree. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis is reconstituting drug and gun squads disbanded after the riots. The department is using crisis intervention teams after slayings to head off retaliation and offer help to crime victims.