Project reaches into Baltimore emergency rooms to stop violence

Federal grant will fund project
Posted at 6:05 PM, Sep 30, 2016

By day, it's a gentrified corner of Station North, but at night, it's a known drug zone.

In the wee hours of the morning Friday, East 21st Street once again became a crime scene.

"My housemate like saw upstairs from the window that he was lying down and got shot,” Savannah Staubs said, “and we both went outside and brought rags and we were like putting pressure on the wound to make it stop bleeding."

Paramedics took the 20-year-old victim to a local hospital and he's expected to survive, but under a new program that's still in the developmental stage, after the doctors and the detectives, an outreach worker could soon be showing up at the victim's bedside.

"If someone is coming in with a gunshot wound, that's one opportunity for us to address trauma... for us to stop the cycle of violence," Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said.

As an emergency room doctor, Wen says she's seen the same victims show up on the operating table over and over again.

Building upon the city's Safe Streets program, a $500,000 federal grant will be used to recruit and train what they're calling "violence interrupters" to visit people at a high risk for repeat violence.

"So that somebody who comes in who is the victim of a gunshot wound, who is the victim of violence will assist them, help to mediate conflicts that may occur, will help them with other social services that they may need so that we can stop the violence and break the cycle of violence and trauma," said Wen.

Last year alone, similar outreach workers in the city's Safe Streets program mediated nearly 700 conflicts and most of those likely would have resulted in gunfire.

The victim in Friday's shooting told police an unknown car drove up when an unknown person opened fire on him.

“The shooter must have like aimed over the top of my car in order to get to him," Staubs said.

It marks the 513th non-fatal shooting in the Baltimore City so far this year. There have been 230 homicides in 2016 to date.

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