Teens Shot in Apparent Act of Self-Defense in Baltimore

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

I say an “apparent” act of self-defense because there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the 13-and-14-year-old boys who showed up at Johns Hopkins Hospital over the weekend with non-life threatening gunshot injuries.


According to WBFF-TV in Baltimore, however, police believe the teens may have been shot as they were attempting to rob someone with a weapon of their own. Authorities say the teens may even have been involved in a mini-crime spree that took place last Saturday night.

The teens, sources say, were shot during an attempted armed robbery on North Patterson Park Avenue. Investigators are also trying to determine if the young pair could also be connected to a carjacking that happened that same night.

Police have not released details related to how the teens were shot.

Meanwhile, sources do say the teens may be connected to up to three other crimes that happened in the Southeastern District that night.

On 9-1-1 dispatch audio you can hear officers piecing together the string of crimes that occurred within the same hour Saturday night.

(9-1-1 Audio) Officers“We have one attempted armed robbery, one armed robbery and a possible carjacking?”

Dispatch“That’s correct. We have not determined if the carjacking is related or not.”

The local news report also quoted a former police officer and legal analyst who said “people are at a boiling point when it comes to being a victim,” but it’s not like crime in Baltimore is a new phenomenon. In fact, on paper things appear to be getting better, with the city on pace to record fewer than 300 homicides for the first time since 2014.


It didn’t come up in the WBFF report, but one of the biggest changes in Baltimore (as well as the rest of the state) is that it’s now possible to obtain a concealed carry license, even if you live in Baltimore. That wasn’t always the case. Before Bruen was handed down last year, Maryland’s “may issue” laws requiring applicants to demonstrate a “justifiable need” to carry a firearm (with self-defense deemed an unjustifiable need) kept the number of concealed carry license holders to just a few thousand residents around the state. In the first few months after Bruen came down more than 80,000 Marylanders applied for a carry license, so the odds of running into a legally armed citizen in Baltimore are much higher than they were just a couple of years ago.

Police have been pretty tight-lipped about this incident, so we don’t know if they’ve identified the individual who they believe shot the teens during their armed robbery attempt or if they’re licensed to carry. It’s also not clear if the teens who allegedly committed the armed robbery were already on the radar of local law enforcement, as was the case with another teen who was shot and killed during a robbery attempt last month.

Arch McKown is involved in several neighborhood associations within the southeast district and shared his frustration surrounding young people committing crimes again and again.

It was just last month that a 16-year-old died after being shot during a robbery attempt in northeast Baltimore. Investigators later revealed he had been involved in the attempted armed carjacking of an off-duty police officer just months beforehand and was already back out on the streets committing more crimes.

“If BPD says we’re arresting them and you see on the report that they’re in custody and taken downtown. DJS says we’re giving them services. But down here there are instances with our own eyes, and cameras where these crimes are being committed and it seems like there are kids slipping through those cracks,” said McKown.


According to Maryland officials there has not been a significant increase in juvenile crime over the past few years, but at least anecdotally it seems like we’re hearing about younger and younger offenders being involved in more serious offenses like carjacking, armed robbery, and other violent crimes. And as McKown says, it sure looks like the number of repeat offenders is growing larger, in part because of a lack of consequences when they’re arrested.

No amount of gun control is gonna fix that. These kids aren’t old enough to legally get their hands on a gun to begin with, and the waiting periods, “assault weapon” and magazine bans, “red flag” laws, and other restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms in the state won’t impact juvenile offenders in any way. Solving this problem, or at least reducing juvenile crime, requires taking these offenses seriously. If the criminal justice system doesn’t do that, why would we expect these teenage suspects to do so?

You know who is taking these crimes seriously? A growing number of armed citizens in Baltimore. Young offenders may not take the juvenile justice system seriously, but they should at least consider the possibility that their intended victim might have the means as well as the motive to defend themselves these days.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member