On Friday, September 2, 17-year-old Jeremiah Brogden was approached by another teenager in the parking lot of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School in Northeast Baltimore. School had just been dismissed and Brogden was in the parking lot of the school when, according to reports, he and a student from another high school got into a verbal altercation.
According to reports, the student whose name has not been released because he is a minor, allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Brogden. The suspect fled, pursued by Baltimore City School Police who apprehended a 17-year-old boy blocks away and located a firearm. Brogden died at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The 17-year-old junior was hours away from playing his first varsity football game of the season.
Homicides have been on a record setting pace in Baltimore this year, with 242 through September 2. The epidemic has weighed heavily on the city’s children. Brogden became the 16th child murdered in Baltimore in 2022, and the 12th killed by gunfire, matching the total number of children killed in all of 2021. In fact, the first two homicides of the year took the lives of 17-year-old Bernard Thomas and 16-year-old Desmond Canada, the two boys killed shortly after midnight on January 1.
Kids have been at the center of some high profile shootings in the city as well, including Brogden’s murder, the killing of Timothy Reynolds and the fatal shooting of Nykayla Strawder.
This was supposed to be the year things began to turn around. Mayor Brandon Scott came to office promising to reimagine public safety. He vowed to take a public health approach to safety, pivoting away from the law enforcement focused strategies of prior mayoral administrations. The city, Scott promised, would provide help to those closest to the violence. City Hall would help nonprofit partners expand their operations and coordinate their efforts in slowing the pace of violence.
But the rollout has been slow. The city didn’t release a coordinated gun violence reduction plan until the end of 2021. And while the gun violence reduction strategy is reporting some successes in the handful of neighborhoods where it’s being implemented, the program is not yet citywide.
In the fall of 2021, following the nonfatal shooting of four children in East Baltimore, the city touted its investment in parks and after school programs to offer kids an enriching alternatives to violence and criminal behavior. Still, the bloodshed continues.
A week before the shooting on August 25, the Baltimore City Council held a meeting to address youth violence. Led by City Councilman Robert Stokes, the three-hour meeting included testimony from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, Baltimore police Commissioner Michael Harrison and members of the City Council.
“Solutions to violence come with changing to conditions for people in their lives, the conditions that drive people to crime in the first place and create crime in the first place,” Baltimore police Commissioner Michael Harrison said.
The city and the school district hashed out a deal to create a pilot program aimed at addressing youth violence. The plan includes peer-to-peer mediation, teaching students conflict resolutions skills and attempts to change the perception around violence. City leaders walked away confident that the plan could net results in Baltimore City Public Schools. Eight days later, Jeremiah Brogden was gunned down on campus.
In an earlier version of this story, Baltimore Beat misidentified Baltimore City Councilperson Robert Stokes. We regret the error.