A Patterson High School student was fatally shot in a East Baltimore park during school hours on Monday, setting off a police search for young people who reportedly fled the scene after the incident, authorities said.

Police identified the victim Tuesday morning as Izaiah Carter, 16. He was shot just after 2 p.m. in Joseph E. Lee Park on East Pratt Street. Responding officers found him unresponsive and suffering from a gunshot wound to the head, police said in a news release.

Medics arrived, administered aid and transported Carter to the nearby Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Scenes from the aftermath of a shooting at a playground adjacent to Patterson High School on March 6, 2023.
Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison speaks at the scenes from the aftermath of a shooting at a playground adjacent to Patterson High School on March 6, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Harrison said police didn’t have any people of interest yet, but that multiple young people “were running in different directions right at the moment the victim fell.”

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“Now yet again we’re talking about young people using guns against other young people,” Harrison told reporters as a helicopter hovered overhead. “And so it has to stop, but it only stops when people who know what happened, people who were here, step forward to let us know. And that’s what we are begging you, we are imploring you, to do immediately.”

Mayor Brandon Scott visited the scene of the shooting, and later issued an impassioned plea.

“Earlier today, I was on the scene of a homicide where another young person lost their life to gun violence,” Scott wrote. “Each time a life is lost in Baltimore, I feel a deep pain — a pain that only deepens when the life lost was a young person. Today’s loss is tremendous. Another family has lost a loved one; another community has lost young life; and Baltimore has lost the potential that this young person could have poured into our City.”

The mayor wrote that while he was “angry and saddened” by the violent death of another young person, he was more determined to do all that he could “to stop this trend of youth violence we are seeing.”

“I want to speak directly to the young people of Baltimore,” he said. “You are destined to be great, but you have to find another way to resolve conflict.”

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The park, which includes a playground and basketball courts, sits across East Pratt Street from a residential neighborhood. The shooting took place during school hours, but did not occur inside of the school building.

The district tweeted just after 3 p.m. that it was aware of police activity near Patterson High School and had managed to dismiss students safely, but warned of traffic issues. The tweet noted that “the investigation is happening off campus.”

City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises stressed during a late-afternoon news conference that schools have protocols in place to protect students, but “those of us who have worked with adolescents over long periods of time know that when young people want to find a way out, we cannot have our eyes in every place at the same time.”

”This is a school that has a weapons detection system,” she said. “This is a school that has cameras in key locations throughout the building, and so there are protocols keeping young people safe.”

The high school “had a safe dismissal,” she added. “We were able to hold students in place while the city police and the school police went about their investigation.”

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Scenes from the aftermath of a shooting at a playground adjacent to Patterson High School on March 6, 2023.
Scenes from the aftermath of a shooting at a playground adjacent to Patterson High School on March 6, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Late Monday afternoon, an area behind the Patterson High School parking lot near the track was marked off by police tape. Investigators snapped pictures of a backpack that lay on a small road leading out from the parking lot, and unzipped it to inspect its contents.

Harrison said police were “scouring over a large territory looking for evidence.”

On Monday evening, the city schools said on Twitter that there would be no classes for Patterson High School students on Tuesday. “However,” officials continued, ”from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the school will be open to students who would like to access counseling and support. Staff will report to school on time and counselors will be available to support staff as well. Please keep the family of this student in your thoughts.”

The school system said the family of the victim had been notified.

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Last month, Baltimore Police announced that authorities had arrested a 16-year-old and charged him with first-degree murder in the case of Deanta Dorsey, an Edmondson-Westside High School sophomore who was fatally shot outside a nearby Popeyes on Jan. 4, along with four others who were wounded.

Dorsey’s family wrote in a statement Monday night that it stands in “grim solidarity with another family enduring what no family ever should.”

“It was only two months ago that our family went through the same unimaginable pain. Even as we continue each day to grieve, we are also heartbroken for this young child’s family and friends — just as the community did for us, we will keep this family in our thoughts and prayers during the hard days ahead,” they wrote, later listing out the names of other young victims of gun violence killed in 2023.

City Council member Zeke Cohen emphasized Monday that conflict resolution should be taught in schools, as well as mental health first aid.

”We need to acknowledge the hurt that a lot of our young people experience, and we need to say very clearly to our children that there are ways to handle and resolve conflict and they do not involve picking up and using a gun,” he said.

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Police are urging anyone with information to contact Homicide detectives at 410-396-2100. To share information anonymously, they may call the Metro Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-866-7LOCKUP or submit an online tip to Crime Stoppers by visiting its website.

Liz Bowie contributed to this report.

cadence.quaranta@thebaltimorebanner.com

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