Baltimore Mayor, police stick to strategy of targeting violent offenders amid murder spike

BALTIMORE - Around the same time police were holding a news conference, officers were called to another shooting across town.

This time it appears the victim will survive.

But it still has been an unbelievable outbreak of violence to start 2014.

Commissioner Anthony Batts and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake appeared at a previously-scheduled community walk Monday.

They said despite 16 murders in the first two weeks of 2014, they will not change their plan to try and cut down on violence in Baltimore City.

The community walk comes in the midst of a spasm of violence affecting neighborhoods all around Baltimore City.

"We've seen a lot of random violence in the beginning of the year and we certainly hoped the year would start off better," Rawlings-Blake said.  "But what we know works is focusing on violent offenders and working in partnership with the community."

Shortly before the walk, there was another shooting in Baltimore City -- this time in West Baltimore, on Mount Street just south of North Avenue.

The victim is expected to survive.

Police have no suspects -- and in fact they have made no arrests, in any of the 16 murders so far in 2014.

One of the suspects, Robert Hopkins, killed himself, police said -- after killing another man last week.

Batts said he expects investigators to be able to connect Hopkins to many other crimes -- but he did not specify which ones.

"That man was a one-man wrecking crew for the city as a whole," Batts said. "I think what you're going to see as we lock it down is that he did a lot of violence out here on the city streets"

The two most recent fatal shootings happened Sunday night -- two days after Hopkins killed himself.

Police were back out in the neighborhoods where those shootings happened Monday, asking people who live there to come forward with information.

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