In the third week of February, two separate killings of couples alarmed Baltimore police and contributed to a spike in the city's homicide numbers that prompted the department to shift strategies, deploy more officers on foot patrols and hold community meetings in neighborhoods feeling the wave of violence.
This month, police arrested one of the men they believe is responsible for one of the double homicides. On May 6, court records show, Perry Alexander, 19, of the 1700 block of Holbrook St. was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and gun charges in the shooting death of Shantese Evans, 26, on Feb. 24 in the 1700 block of Montpelier St. in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello neighborhood.
Evans was sitting in the passenger side of a Cadillac parked in the block when police say Alexander approached with a handgun and shot several times through the window, court records show. Evans jumped into the back of the vehicle but was shot in the chest.
Maurice Barfield, a 33-year-old who court records say was Evans' boyfriend, was outside the vehicle and was chased and shot by a different gunman, police wrote in charging documents. Barfield died of his wounds as well; Alexander is only charged in connection with Evans' killing.
A message left Thursday with Alexander's attorney, Cal S. Stafilatos, was not returned.
The indictment represents one of about a dozen homicide arrests police have made in the past two months. Baltimore police's closure rate for homicides this year stands at 54 percent, about the same rate for all of last year but higher than at this point in 2012, when the closure rate stood at 45 percent, police said.
Other cases Baltimore detectives have recently closed include:
•The killing Monday of Marcus Lemon, 24. Baltimore police found Lemon about 2 p.m. that day suffering from gunshot wounds in the 500 block of N. Decker St. Two days later, a team of Baltimore warrant task force officers arrested Derrick Dargan, 23, of 3015 McElderry St., in the 2900 block of Monument St. He was charged with first-degree murder, assault charges, use of a firearm by a felon in a violent crime and reckless endangerment, police said. No attorney was listed, and someone hung up when a call was placed to his home seeking a relative.
•The killing Dec. 17 of Edward Bruce Thomas, 32. Police arrested Eric Jamal Wise, 23, on May 7. Thomas was found with multiple gunshot wounds in a vestibule of a dwelling in the 1700 block of Gwynns Falls Parkway. Wise was charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and a handgun charge. He was arrested after witnesses identified him from a photo array, court records show. No attorney for Wise was listed in court files, and a working phone number for his last known address could not be found.
•The killing April 8 of Mark Dukes, 32, in the 300 block of S. Payson St. Police arrested Christopher Bell, 30, and Jeffery Bolton, 29. Both suspects were charged with murder, assault and gun charges. No attorney was listed for Bell, and a working phone number for his last known address in the 2000 block of Ramsey St. could not be found. No attorney was listed for Bolton in court records, which list the spelling of his first name as Jeffrey. A phone number listed for him was disconnected.
•The killing Aug. 4 of Jeffery Thomas, 22, in the 3000 block of W. Garrison Ave. Police arrested Alvin Kelly, 25, last month. Kelly was charged with murder and gun violations. No attorney was listed in court records. A phone number listed for his address in the 400 block of Furrow St. was disconnected.