BALTIMORE, Md. (WMAR) - The shots rang out behind the Mary E. Rodman Rec Center in Southwest Baltimore at 8:20 on Tuesday night just as children inside the building were preparing to head home.
The children of a woman, who asked us not to use her name, became caught up in the chaos that followed.
They are 9 and 12 years of age.
"She heard the gunfire and she came out, because my son wasn't answering his cell phone,” said the woman, “So she was out here calling him and by the time she got where she needed to get, he was already running to her."
Behind the rec center, sandwiched between the building and the nearby basketball courts, officers discovered a shooting victim---a 16-year-old boy.
"We, unfortunately, know who he is,” said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, “The Southwest District patrol officers know him… unfortunately. He was in possession of a handgun at the time of the incident."
A source says the victim also had 20 small baggies of marijuana on him.
This marks the 100th homicide in the city this year, but the police commissioner is quick to point out that the unidentified teen's death represents far more than that.
"Yes, he was in possession of a gun. Yes, we know what his background is, but it's a young man. It's a life. It's not a number to us,” said De Sousa, “That's someone who had a family. That's someone who a mom or dad or parent or guardian of some sort, and not just his life is lost, but the other lives are destroyed behind this."
Back on West Mulberry Street near the rec center, the mother of two laments the latest homicide.
"It is a war zone... especially when you've got guns in the wrong people's hands,” she said, mindful that the killing is also taking a toll on her children, "My son and my daughter love to come over here to the rec and they don't want to come back. No words can explain it like my son just lost his cousin last week and we're getting ready to bury him and everything this week. It's no worries. It just won't stop."
Police say they have already taken more than 500 illegal guns off the streets this year, yet the fatal shootings continue.
Homicide detectives are investigating this incident. Anyone with information is asked to call 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7Lockup. You can also text tips to 443-902-4824.