By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter
Only a few short hours into 2021, Baltimore registered its first homicide of the year. The murder of 33-year old Tiffany Wilson, down the street from her home on N. Stricker Street in West Baltimore, became yet another high-profile tragedy.
Wilson was allegedly stabbed to death by her partner Lakeyria Doughty, known by many as the “Wheelie Queen,” the only female member of the legendary “12 O’Clock Boys” dirt bike crew. The dirt bike daredevil and young actress had roles in the award-winning documentary 12 O’Clock Boys (released in 2013), as well as the feature film Charm City Kings (released in 2020).
Five months later, the city has continued on a torrid homicide clip, surpassing the 2020 pace that ended with 337 homicides, the sixth year in a row Baltimore recorded more than 300 murders.
In the early morning hours of May 4, the latest homicide victim, a 31-year-old unidentified male was discovered by Southwest District police officers in the 5100 block of Williston Street. His murder was the ninth in the last four days and the 108th of 2021, which is 14 more than the 94 homicides on May 4, 2020.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott spoke about the most recent spike in deadly violence at a press conference on May 3. He specifically spoke about a violent episode in Carroll Park, adjacent to the South Baltimore neighborhood of Pigtown, where four people were shot and hundreds more were potentially in the line of fire.
“We know that we had a mass shooting, let’s call it what it is, a mass shooting in Carroll Park last night, which is completely unacceptable,” Scott said.
“I met with the police commissioner’s team today about making sure we are putting in strategies and things in place to deal with the events that we can prevent. But, we also have to continue to be engaging our communities,” he added. “I spent time last weekend walking the streets of South Baltimore and Brooklyn where we’ve had dozens of incidents of violence this year and was in West Baltimore on Saturday and going to continue to do that while I’m pushing the police department to do better, while I’m pushing all of our agencies to do better. But, we also have to be better as citizens.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison provided more details about the recent surge in violence.
“Since Friday April 30th, Baltimore has seen a spike in violence, a much sharper spike than in previous weekends. Eleven individuals have been shot, three of them fatally wounded, two other individuals died as a result of being assaulted,” Harrison said. “One of the fatal shooting victims investigators have learned was involved in a dice game, which let me remind you is still illegal activity…A violent few days like we just saw is devastating and it is heart-wrenching,” Harrison added. “As always our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims, as well as the many people who unexpectedly had to witness such a tragic event.”
As Commissioner Harrison alluded to behind every homicide number there is a circle of people who loved that victim of violence; there is a story.
The city’s 100th homicide was a young woman named Kaylia Player, 19, whose body was discovered on May 1. The grisly circumstances of how her body was found played out like an episode of the quintessential Baltimore crime series, The Wire, although the teen’s demise is all too real for those who love her. She was discovered by people doing a walkthrough of a house to be rehabbed in the 4200 block of Massachusetts Ave., in Southwest Baltimore.
“You have no idea the pain that these families are going through and what these communities are going through,” Scott said. “So you have to have a deep understanding of how simple, minor conflict is ending in people dying in our city and it doesn’t have to be that way,” the mayor added. “We have to have a look in the mirror and have a self check as a city of what we’re going to allow to be happening on our streets.”