Baltimore Homicide Count Exceeds Last Year’s Total

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Baltimore has recorded its 319th homicide victim this year, raising the total beyond the 318 killings last year, the Baltimore Sun reports. That means 2017 is now Baltimore’s second-deadliest year on record on a per-capita basis, with a month left to go. The record was set in 2015, when there were 344 homicides. The shooting that led to the latest victim followed the discovery Wednesday night of a man’s body in a burning vacant house. That death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy Thursday determined the man had been shot.

Mayor Catherine Pugh has called the violence “out of control” and vowed to increase the police force to 3,000 sworn officers as quickly as possible — hundreds more than there are now — but recruiting cadets and putting them through the police academy takes time. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis repeated on Thursday his now-frequent calls for harsher penalties for repeat gun offenders, citing the arrest of a man on attempted first-degree murder and other charges on Thursday in relation to an incident Wednesday night, in which an officer was shot in the hand after stopping the man on a street. The man, identified as Allen Hosea Johnson Jr., 35, was forbidden to have a firearm because of previous convictions, Davis said.

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