Man who threw bat at Baltimore squeegee workers fatally shot

A man who got out of his car and swung a bat at squeegee workers during a confrontation in downtown Baltimore was killed on Thursday whe...


A man who got out of his car and swung a bat at squeegee workers during a confrontation in downtown Baltimore was killed on Thursday when one of the workers pulled out a gun and shot him on it, authorities said.

The man, who had a heated confrontation with the workers as he crossed the intersection of Conway and Light streets around 4:30 p.m., parked his car, approached the group with a baseball bat and the swung at them, Michael Harrison, the police commissioner, said at a press conference.

One of the workers pulled out a gun and shot the man, who was taken to hospital and pronounced dead, Mr Harrison said. The victim’s name was not immediately released and Mr Harrison said police were looking for the person who fired the weapon. It was unclear if anyone had been hit with the bat or if the victim swung at the person who fired the gun.

The shooting has heightened tensions in the community over workers known as ‘squeegee kids’, young people who clean the windshields of cars stopped at red lights, often without permission, in the hope of earning a few bucks in return. Young people, who often live in poverty, say the practice is a lifeline. City officials have called it a nuisance that causes residents and tourists to avoid driving through downtown.

New York City has its own history with raclette workers. The repression of the practice were perhaps the toughest under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who portrayed these men as a blight on the city.

In defense of his department’s handling of squeegee workers, Harrison said Thursday, hours before the shooting, Baltimore police arrested a person with a handgun at the same intersection where the shooting took place. later. He did not provide further details of this arrest.

“The police were here to enforce the law, like the people want us to do,” he said. “And we did exactly what they asked us to do. Impose. We were doing.”

Harrison said city officials are also providing young workers with information to help them make “lifestyle changes” and raise awareness of other opportunities.

“We understand people’s frustrations because we constantly hear their complaints,” Harrison said. “It’s a very complex situation, where someone has taken matters into their own hands.”

Mayor Brandon M. Scott said in a statement late Thursday that the city, “through enforcement and commitment,” will continue to try to deter young people from engaging in “behaviour that puts lives at risk.”

“I want to be very clear: if you are on the streets of Baltimore and endangering the safety of others or using violence to solve your problems, we will hold you accountable,” he said. “Whatever the cause of this incident, it is a sad reminder that far too often easily avoidable confrontations escalate into acts of violence.”

Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City Attorney, said in a statement that she was limited in what she could say due to the investigation, but said she was “completely appalled by the act of violence heinous thing that happened this afternoon”.

“Today’s episode is completely unacceptable and should serve as a flashpoint for our entire city,” she said. “There are too many guns on our streets, and those who willfully turn to violence to resolve disputes will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Man who threw bat at Baltimore squeegee workers fatally shot
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