Frederick police and city officials are considering how to deal with violence after a shooting and a stabbing in separate incidents Sunday, the latest in a string of serious crimes in the city.
Police are investigating whether a shooting early Sunday in the 400 block of North Market Street is related to another shooting in the 600 block of North Market Street on Aug. 31.
The short time frame between the shootings and their relative proximity have drawn investigators’ attention, said Frederick Police Department Lt. Kirk Henneberry, although he couldn’t confirm a connection Monday.
In Sunday’s incident, police responded to reports of gunshots at 1:17 a.m. at Fourth and Market streets, where officers found a man with gunshot wounds, according to police.
The man was released from the hospital Monday, police spokeswoman Michele Bowman said.
At 1:37 a.m. Aug. 31, two men and two women were shot in the 600 block of North Market in what police believe was the result of a dispute.
Police have charged Bryant McMillon Jr., 34, of Silver Spring, with a series of gun offenses in that incident.
And on Sept. 3, police responded to the 300 block of Heather Ridge Drive for a report of a shooting, and were told that a man had been taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital.
Police have occasionally responded to clusters of reports of shots being fired in a particular area in a short amount of time, but the three recent gunfire incidents are somewhat unusual in that all three have had people get hit, Henneberry said.
Police are also investigating a stabbing in the first block of South Market Street, near Carroll Creek Linear Park, that was reported at 9:21 p.m. Sunday.
Police were still investigating Monday, but it appears that the suspect and victim knew each other, Henneberry said.
That stabbing comes as investigators continue to examine a stabbing on Blueridge Court near the Golden Mile on Aug. 31 that left a man hospitalized.
That case remains open, and detectives contacted the victim again Monday to try to get a better explanation of what happened, Henneberry said.
As a result of the recent incidents, police had more officers on patrol for five days last week, and will have extra vehicle and foot patrols for five days this week, particularly on Market Street, Henneberry said.
The patrols aim to reassure the public, as well as get more officers out into communities to talk to residents about what they’re seeing and what is going on, he said.
The patrols will be paid for by a $20,000 grant that the department got in July from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
As police worked the various cases, Frederick’s elected officials tried to figure out how to deal with the surge of violence.
“It’s frustrating because it sends the wrong message about what this community really is,” Mayor Michael O’Connor said.
Despite the recent cases, serious crimes — such as murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft — are down 11 percent from last year, according to police.
“But that doesn’t matter, because when people hear about these types of incidents, perception is everything,” O’Connor said about the drop.
Alderman Roger Wilson doesn’t think the violence had reached a level where it would affect the city’s reputation.
“I don’t think we’re at that point yet,” he said.
But the city does need to make sure that police are in the right places, and use its neighborhood advisory councils to make sure they’re hearing from the community, Wilson said.
He would also like to see a staff position to oversee human services and make sure information flows freely.
While Frederick has an outstanding police department, Wilson said the city has to deal with trends that other cities face.
“Our community is not immune to the gun violence that’s happening across the nation, state and region,” Wilson said.
Alderman Ben MacShane said he’s asked the police department for an analysis to see if anything unusual is happening, or if a series of relatively infrequent events are just happening at the same time.
He said he wants to get the information so that the city can get an accurate message out to the community.
The city needs to be proactive and communicate with residents about what is happening, and reassure them that they have a safe city, said Alderman Derek Shackelford.
The effort will involve a combination of public officials, law enforcement, and members of the community.
“We need to be on this. We need to be addressing this,” Shackelford said.