The mother and the brother of a suspect in a triple shooting were gunned down in an ambush outside their Northeast Baltimore home, according to sources, prompting police to assign a special unit of top investigators to stop the "momentum of violence."
Police released few details Friday about the crimes — the triple shooting took place Wednesday in Southwest Baltimore and the ambush a day later — but condemned the violence.
"From now on, when incidents like this happen, when there's this momentum of violence, we need to respond," said acting Police Commissioner Anthony Barksdale. "When the individuals who don't know how to act in society flare up like this, I take the best we have, and I say, 'Go get 'em.' "
Over the police radio Friday afternoon, an officer instructed others to be on guard for reprisals because the woman killed in Northeast Baltimore was the mother of the suspect in the Southwest shooting that killed two brothers. Sources, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the investigation, confirmed that information and said the 33-year-old man also killed in Thursday's shooting was her son. The woman was 54.
Police were trying to find the shooters in both cases and have not confirmed the identities of any of the victims or suspects.
"The violence over the last two days is connected. This is not random," Barksdale said in an interview. "We have very good leads, and we are following these leads with very solid progress at this very moment."
The first shooting occurred in the 600 block of Linnard St. in the Edgewood neighborhood. Officers were first called to the scene at about 9 p.m. Wednesday for a report of shots being fired but found nothing.
Three hours later, a man called police and said there were injured people inside a house in the block. When police got there, the man had vanished and police found three people suffering from gunshot wounds.
A vigil was held Thursday night outside the rowhouse, just off Edmondson Avenue.
Hours after the vigil, around midnight, the woman and a 33-year-old son were returning to their home in the 4200 block of Hamilton Ave., just off Belair Road in the Frankford neighborhood. Gunmen were lying in wait and opened fire, killing them outside the house.
No one answered the door Friday at the house, which had children's bicycles and toys strewn about the front yard. A home next door advertises day care services.
Brandon Scott, a city councilman who represents Northeast Baltimore, called the shooting "disappointing and extremely alarming."
"It's a little out of place here," he said, referring to Frankford, which is near the Baltimore County line and has seen one other killing this year — that of a Belair Road business owner in June. "It's alarming to the neighborhood."
A police spokesman said the killing was "premeditated and targeted."
Barksdale said only that there was a "definite relationship" between the two shootings and that detectives were working the case hard.
Police created what was described as a task force of senior detectives from the homicide unit and violent-crimes impact section to investigate the case and try to prevent further retaliation, an approach police say they plan to use more often on high-profile cases.
Police said the Southwest Baltimore home where three people were shot was "known to police" but would not release a report of 911 calls for the address.
According to court records, detectives with the organized crime division had obtained a search warrant for the home in December 2010 and arrested Euclides Manley, who was inside with three teenagers, for possession of a small amount of marijuana. He received one day in jail after being convicted in the case.
In recent weeks, the large amount of gun violence in the Southwestern District led Barksdale to shake up the leadership in the area, moving commanders to other positions.
There have been 20 homicides in that district, and of the city's nine police districts, only the Eastern District has seen more homicides this year, with 22.
In a separate city incident, a 32-year-old man was being treated at an area hospital after being shot in the abdomen at 5:25 p.m. Thursday in the 5600 block of Norwood Ave. in Howard Park, police said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Ian Duncan contributed to this article