A 7-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed inside a West Baltimore rowhouse just after 5 p.m. Friday, marking another episode of gun violence that has marred the city’s holiday season.

Mayor Brandon Scott and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison assembled the news media at the 2100 block of Presbury Street where the shooting occurred but could provide little details to fill in the gaps of a tragic and nonsensical death. They said only that police responded to a call and were led to a rowhouse in the middle of the block.

Officers discovered the boy’s body upstairs with a gunshot wound to the head. They said an 18-year-old male who was also in the residence was questioned. That individual is currently undergoing an emergency psychological evaluation.

Outside the rowhouse, the mayor and commissioner made desperate pleas for every citizen of the city to throw their weight into finding a solution to end the shootings. The boy’s death marked the city’s 333rd homicide in the calendar year, with one day left to go. There were 334 homicides in 2021.

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About an hour after the press conference ended, police responded to a triple shooting about a mile away at the 1300 block of North Carey Street, where they located an unidentified male shot in the torso. The victim was transported to Shock Trauma, where he later died, police said. A second unknown male victim located nearby was also suffering from gunshot wounds. His condition is unknown. A third victim was located with gunshot wounds to his legs, deemed non-life-thtreatening.

“We talk about the prevalence of guns in our city, we talk about the willingness of criminals to use them, and we talk about gun protection and we talk about gun safety and we talk about gun responsibility.” Harrison said at the press conference. “We talk about all these things at the same time all the time, and yet, it has happened again.”

Harrison and Scott promised to hold whoever was responsible for the shooting to the fullest extent of the law, and spoke extensively about responsible gun ownership, echoing comments made after 15-year-old Nykayla Strawder was fatally shot on her front porch in August. In that shooting, police accused a 9-year-old boy of bringing a loaded gun to the girl’s house, a weapon they said he obtained from a relative.

“People have to understand about how many guns are around, accessible to any and everybody, and how, if you are a gun owner, you have to be responsible,” Scott said. “We continue to see so many people, young people, have access to these weapons and end up in tragedies like this which you cannot even think of. No one should have to think about losing a young child like that. No one should have to feel that pain.”

An analysis by The Baltimore Banner earlier this year found that a record number of families have felt the pain of a child being shot. As of mid-October, more children under the age of 18 had been shot in the city than in any year since at least 2014, the earliest year in the Baltimore Police Department’s public release of violent crimes data without significant data deficiencies.

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The Banner’s analysis found that children are most often shot at night and outside. In November, 13-year-old Kelsey Washington was shot in the 1400 block of E. Fayette Street. Witnesses said she was a bystander when someone fired into a vehicle and instead hit the girl in the head.

Friday’s shooting occurred in the city’s Western District, where the city’s public safety leaders have touted a nearly 40% decrease in homicides and nonfatal shootings as of mid December. They attributed the reduction to an alternative law enforcement approach tailored to group violence that is set to expand citywide on an ambitious timeline next year.

But the progress in the Western District has been overshadowed by shootings in other parts of the city and an increasingly violent December. The city tallied four homicides on the day after Christmas, including the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man at the Mondawmin subway station. Less than a week before that, a man was fatally shot near the light rail stop outside the CFG Bank Arena in broad daylight.

That shooting occurred just hours after the mayor, police commissioner and the director of the mayor’s public safety office held an end-of-the-year press conference highlighting their efforts to stem gun violence in the city.