RadioOnFire.com – Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison aimed to reassure residents Friday after a brazen downtown shooting.
Khari Johnson, 20, of Gwynn Oak, was gunned down Wednesday afternoon outside Royal Farms Arena. Ashraf Shafie, the owner of a nearby store, voiced his frustrations to WBAL-TV 11
“This is not right. The mayor, the City Council, everybody should be involved in this,” Shafie said. “They can’t just be sitting there doing nothing. I need help. We need help in here. I thought it was rock bottom until someone got killed on the street in front of my store here. The main street in Baltimore does not have security. I used to have police come here all the time. No one is here anymore.”
Speaking to C4, Harrison said police share his frustration and stressed that an officer was 100 feet away when the fatal shot ran out. He said police are working to follow “a number of very promising leads.”
“But this one speaks to the violent culture and the violent brazenness of today’s offender that they would do that in front of the Royal Farms Arena, in front of this store, on a busy street at 12:30 in broad daylight. So we have to work to change that culture,” Harrison said.
Harrison said police are working with urgency to not just close cases, but to zero in on the root causes of violent crime
“The men and women of this department wake up every day with that urgency because we fall asleep with it or we don’t sleep at all because of it,” Harrison said.
2019 was Baltimore’s fifth straight year with more than 300 homicides. Thus far in January, Baltimore has averaged a homicide per day.
“We had a bad day Saturday, where there were five [homicides] in one day, and that’s a horrible day.,” Harrison said. “But we are working to develop the best strategies to deal with the violent offenders and the repeat offenders so we can target them specifically, and that we can change the culture, and that we can be a better department, that when we arrest people, those people are held to account and that we are giving you the department that you deserve and expect.”