A relative of a gun violence victim holds a sign at the "Stop the Violence" rally during the 72 hour community-led Baltimore Ceasefire against gun violence in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. August 4, 2017.SAIT SERKAN GURBUZ / Reuters
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A hopeful weekend cease-fire in Baltimore was marred by two fatal shootings on Saturday.
Police said a 24-year-old man was shot at around 5 p.m. and was taken by friends to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, and a 37-year-old man was fatally shot shortly before 10 p.m.
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Activists had called for a 72-hour cease-fire in the city, a movement that was embraced by the city’s police department and mayor. Community groups handed out fliers reading "Baltimore Cease Fire" and "nobody kill anybody for 72 hours" from Friday through Sunday.
Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said that the killings should not take away from the goals of organizers. The killings appear to be the first homicides of the weekend.
"Yes, there was a homicide. But,the work doesn't stop," Smith said in a tweet Saturday evening. "Organizers called and are in the area to continue to spread love." Smith's 24-year-old brother, Dionay Smith, was fatally shot in July.
Yes, there was a homicide. But,the work doesn't stop. Organizers called and are in the area to continue to spread love. #BaltimoreCeasefire
Before the weekend, the city recorded 208 homicides in 2017, NBC affiliate WBAL-TV reported. Far larger New York City has recorded 160 murders through July 30, according to police data.
Before the cease-fire began, one of the movement’s organizers, Erricka Bridgeford, said the effort might not stop all violence — but it could be a step in the right direction.
"We don't think this is a cure," she said. “We don’t think this will even necessarily stop violence that weekend, but we know that some people have made promises that they won't, and that just might save somebody’s life."