Baltimore teen accused of firing into crowd during block party mass shooting

18 August 2023

BALTIMORE (AP) — A second teenager has been arrested in connection with a mass shooting that left two people dead and 28 others injured during a Baltimore block party earlier this summer, authorities announced Thursday evening.

The teen fired a handgun at a group of partygoers on July 2, according to charging documents, but the papers don’t specify whether anyone was injured by the bullets from his gun. Police said at least three people shot into the crowd, turning the annual neighborhood summer celebration into a scene of terror and bloodshed. Most of the victims were teens and young adults.

Tristan Brian Jackson, 18, was wearing an ankle monitor from an unrelated case in juvenile court when he arrived at the Brooklyn Homes block party and joined the crowd, which grew to several hundred people in the hours leading up to the shooting, according to police.

Detectives said GPS data from his ankle monitor corroborated his location at the party. They said he was also caught on surveillance video firing five rounds at a group of seven people who were fleeing in the opposite direction. It was not immediately clear whether Jackson has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

He has been charged with a litany of counts, including attempted murder and firearms offenses, according to police records. The case was not immediately listed in online court records.

The attempted murder charges come after more than a month of scrutiny of the Baltimore Police Department’s response to the scene.

Residents of south Baltimore’s Brooklyn Homes public housing complex had called the police hours before gunfire broke out, saying the party was getting out of hand and some attendees were armed with guns and knives. But a “catastrophic breakdown” in communication led to inaction from officers until it was too late, officials said at a public hearing following the shooting.

Police arrested another teen from the party last month and charged him with possessing a firearm during the event. He was also one of the victims shot that night and hasn’t been charged with any act of violence. Detectives said he arrived at Brooklyn Homes with Jackson and two other people; the same group left the scene in a silver car shortly after the shooting, according to police.

Earlier that day at the annual neighborhood block party, children played while adults grilled hamburgers, mixed drinks and socialized with friends. The police department had stationed officers at the event in years past, but agency leaders said this year they weren’t aware that it was happening. They also acknowledged that officers failed to adequately respond to the reports of armed and disorderly people that were made as the celebration continued after dark.

Police are promising to release the results of a comprehensive review to determine what went wrong, but they pushed back its release date this week.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, residents and community leaders pointed to longstanding neglect of the majority-Black south Baltimore community, which has suffered from poverty and disinvestment for generations. They questioned whether police would have responded differently if the incident unfolded in a more affluent area.

In announcing Jackson’s arrest Thursday night, city leaders emphasized their commitment to the case.

“While this arrest cannot undo the damage and trauma caused that day, it is my hope that it can bring some peace and justice to the families of all the victims and the Baltimore community,” said Acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement that police are still investigating.

“We will continue to come together as a community to support one another in the face of this unprecedented tragedy and build a safer, more resilient Baltimore,” he said.

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