It was early Thursday morning, and news of another killing had just arrived, this one more chilling than the others. There were two bodies. One was a young woman, aged 31. The other was her 7-year-old son. Both had been shot in the head. It wasn’t long before police and onlookers swarmed the West Baltimore street to bear witness to another grim annotation in the city’s skyrocketing murder toll.
“The screams I’m hearing right now as the bodies are removed from the house would rip your heart out,” one reporter wrote on Twitter.
Even in Baltimore, where killing is a distinct part of its urban reality, the weeks since Freddie Gray’s controversial death have been exceptionally grisly. To mark May’s passage was to count bullets and bodies. Around 10 people were shot dead the second week of the month, the most in a week in more than two years. Then it happened again the next week. And again the week after that. In all, 43 people were killed in May — the most in a single month in four decades.