A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed Aug. 24 and six other people were wounded in what Baltimore police said was the largest cluster shooting since 2009. Police said shooting erupted after what they called “an illegal dice game” in the 1500 block of W. Fayette Street.
Deshaun Jones, 15, youngest victim of the shooting, police said, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Officials said he lived near West Baltimore and Fayette streets and was scheduled to be a freshman at Frederick Douglass High School this school year.
Det. Jeremy Silbert, a police spokesperson, said officers responded to reports of a shooting at Fayette Street around 9:15 p.m. He said they found a teenage boy, later identified as Deshaun, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Silbert said the boy was transported to a local area hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
A police officer was flagged down a block away from the shooting by two men suffering from non-life threatening injuries. Within the hour, four other men, who were also shot at the scene, walked into local area hospitals suffering from non-life threatening injuries.
Silbert said the six adult men who were injured on the scene all had arrest records. Juvenile arrest records are not released to the public.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts arrived at the scene just after the shooting.
“To hear seven people shot in a cluster is outrageous for this city and it’s unacceptable for this city as a whole,” said Batts. “We’ve had hundreds of officers out here on the last several nights. I was out here last night.”
Batts said the city is experiencing “a rash in clusters, multiple people being shot at one time.” He said the number of shooting incidents is, however, comparable to the number of incidents in previous years.
In July 2009, 12 people, including a pregnant woman, were shot during a Memorial Day cookout on Ashland Avenue.
Police are unclear of the exact motive of the shooting, said Batts. He said street craps games are common robbery targets.
Deshaun recently graduated from KASA Middle/High School’s eighth grade. The school is located in the 200 block of N. Bend Road in west Baltimore. He was scheduled to attend Frederick Douglass High School as a ninth-grader when school opened Aug. 26.
Jasmine T. Curry, a language arts teacher at KASA, taught Deshaun during his seventh grade year from 2011-2012 . Curry said Jones was “very, very bright and respectful student.”
“He was a very charismatic student,” said Curry. “He cracked jokes all the time and would fake pass out on the floor and fake seizures.”
Curry said Deshaun’s mother was very active and involved in ensuring he participated and was involved in his school work.
“She was very active and serious about his education,” said Curry. “She didn’t tolerate any disrespect.”
Deshaun was pursuing a career as a rap artist and performed under the moniker Lor D’shaun. He had uploaded several songs on YouTube garnering thousands of views of his music. His most popular song “My Life” has nearly 10,000 plays on the video hosting platform.
“He was very serious about his music,” said Curry. “All the students knew he was a rapper. I didn’t even know. At first he didn’t want to give me his mixtape. He said it would be too much for me.”
Curry said she persuaded the teenager to let her listen to his music. After discovering his CD in her car a few days ago, she said she listened and enjoyed it.
Curry said Deshaun is the first student of hers to be shot and killed in Baltimore. She said other students of hers have been wounded, some injured by stray bullets. Curry has been teaching in the Baltimore City public school system since 2010.
“It’s unfortunate any child in America has to live in fear for their life… but it’s the reality of our society,” said Curry. “It’s really unfortunate because Deshaun had a lot to give the world and for his life to be cut short and right before school really bothers me.”