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Home News Baltimore News Originally published February 05, 2014

Bloody January Sees 27 Murders in Baltimore

16-Year-old Lavar Crawford Was Youngest Victim

by Jonathan Hunter and Blair Adams
AFRO Staff Writers

    16-Year-old Lavar Crawford. (Courtesy Photo)
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On the same day as the devastating shooting massacre at Columbia Mall in Howard County, that left three people dead and five injured, another senseless murder took place, this time in Baltimore.

Lavar Crawford, 16, was found dead on E. 28th street, near Hugo Avenue, near his aunt’s house, around 11:30 p.m.

His mother, Lartasha Newton, got the phone call that no parent wants to receive. Her son had been shot. She began calling loved ones and headed to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where many of the city’s victims of street violence are taken for treatment.

There, she learned he was still back on Hugo Avenue, already dead.

“It was a nightmare for me. My days will never be the same,” she told the AFRO
Crawford, a student at Forrest Park High School, was the 25th person killed in Baltimore in January and the youngest. He was killed in the deadliest January since 2007.

Ten people were killed in the first nine days of the month, compared to last year, when the city’s first homicide didn’t occur until Jan. 11.

In January 2013, 14 people were killed.

Police have yet to say what they believe led to the spike in killings in the city.

According to statistics, of the 27 victims, 25 were men and two were women.

Sheena Gamble, 30, was shot to death Jan. 30 in the 1500 block of Cole Street, and Kim Leto, 51, was fatally stabbed Jan. 31 in her home in 400 block of S. Ellwood Avenue.

Twenty-three of January’s homicide victims were shot, four were stabbed. In 2013, 12 of the victims were male and eight of the victims were shot. The youngest person killed in January 2013 was Darius Shields, 18, who was found dead in the 500 block of East Patapsco Street on Jan. 11.

In a June 27, 2013 news conference, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts attributed a spate of summer killings to increased violence that typically comes along with hot weather in June and July. But police had no explanation as to why, with temperatures lower than they had been in seasons, so many people were in killing mode in January.

And while police continue to investigate, Newton is getting used to life without her son, whom she described as a “funny kid who enjoyed poetry, singing and dancing.”

“He was an average 16-year-old,” she said. “He was into [girls], rapping and dancing.”

She’s angry that people keep getting killed while politicians don’t’ come up with a plan to stop it. She’s angry that her son is gone.

“Something needs to be done about this problem in Baltimore” Newton said.

In a poem that his mother shared with a stranger, Lavar left a message that his mother will always hold close:

“Love my family, my mother and two brothers Mike and Markel,” he wrote. “I really love my mother.

He was scheduled to be buried Feb. 6.



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