August 6, 2017 / 2:37 AM / 2 months ago

Two Baltimore murders break 72-hour anti-violence 'ceasefire'

(Reuters) - A 37-year-old man was shot and killed in Baltimore late on Saturday, police said, in the second murder since activists called for a 72-hour “ceasefire” this weekend in response to the city’s record homicide rate.

People hold signs at the "Stop the Violence" rally. REUTERS/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

The unidentified victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds just before 10 p.m. on Saturday, a few hours after a 24-year-old man was reported shot and killed. Another shooting, which was not fatal, occurred earlier in the day, police said.

Community leaders had pleaded for a 72-hour pause in the violence during Friday, Saturday and Sunday, using the hashtag #BaltimoreCeasefire on social media. No murders were reported until Saturday afternoon.

The city had recorded a record 204 homicides for the first seven months of the year.

Following the first shooting on Saturday, Baltimore Ceasefire’s organizers said on Facebook that the killing would not stop their mission.

A woman holds a candle before the "Peace Walk" at Patterson Park during the 72 hour community-led Baltimore Ceasefire against gun violence in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

“It’s not that we EITHER keep celebrating life this weekend OR honor the life that has been lost to violence today,” the post read. “ ... We will honor the life that was lost to violence, and raise our vibration even higher, and keep celebrating life.”

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The Rev. Grey Maggiano, a rector at the Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore, said on Twitter: “The victory in #BaltimoreCeasefire is not whether someone got shot or not - it’s that so many ppl mobilized to say ‘we are tired! No more.'”

Despite the shootings, activists held marches, cookouts and vigils on Saturday night, paying tribute to the city’s murder victims and hugging residents affected by the violence, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Riots convulsed the majority-black city in April 2015 after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died in police custody.

Prosecutors charged six officers in connection with the incident but secured no convictions. Gray’s death also prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation, which concluded that the city’s police department routinely violated residents’ civil rights.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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