The city’s first homicide victim of the year was a teenager, the latest in a number of Baltimore youths who have lost their lives to gun violence in recent years.

Baltimore Police on Monday identified 16-year-old Noah Gibson as the person who was killed Jan. 2 in an early morning shooting on the city’s West Side. Police received a ShotSpotter alert around 2:15 a.m. in the unit block of North Bentalou Street and found Gibson nearby, in the unit block of Gorman Avenue. Gibson wasn’t breathing when officers found him, according to police.

A student at Carver Vocational-Tech High School, Gibson’s death marks the first killing in the city this year and continues an upward trend in the number of Baltimore youths who have been shot post-coronavirus pandemic. No further information about Gibson was immediately available as of midday Monday.

Baltimore recorded the largest single-year decrease in homicides in city history in 2023, with 263 compared to 330 in 2022. But while the city saw a decline in killings, the number of school-aged teens between 13 and 18 getting shot is rising. At least 25 people between the ages of 13 and 18 were killed in 2023, up from 19 in 2022. More than 120 teens in the same age range were shot nonfatally, according to a Baltimore Banner analysis of police data.

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The Banner’s analysis of youth gun violence focuses on 13- to 18-year-olds because youths in that range have been shot in record numbers in recent years. Nationally, the homicide rate for people ages 15 to 19 increased 91% from 2014 to 2021, and firearms have become the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The start of 2023 brought a wave of gun violence involving young people. A 17-year-old girl, D’Asia Garrison, was the city’s first homicide victim of 2023. Police made an arrest in that case and Andre Bailey, 27, of Madison-Eastend, pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to second-degree murder in the shooting. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday.

Days after Garrison’s killing, a group of Edmondson Westside High School students were shot in broad daylight across the street from the school. Four students were injured and another, 16-year-old Deonta Dorsey, died. Another 16-year-old was charged in that shooting.

This article may be updated.

Lee O. Sanderlin is an Enterprise Reporter for The Baltimore Banner. Before joining The Banner, he worked at The Baltimore Sun as a reporter covering a wide array of topics, including stories about abusive politicians, sexual abuse, gun violence and legislative issues. 

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