Proof that sometimes The System works pretty well:
1. A citizen approached police with a photo of the alleged July 4 attacker. The photo was taken with the citizen’s cell phone, which I think is a) clear and quick thinking and b) pretty darned brave. Snapping flash pictures of an enraged man with a weapon in his hand is above and beyond, in my opinion.
2. The police took the citizen seriously.
3. The police gave the photo to every media outlet they could. They put the photo on Facebook and Twitter. They worked the publicity as hard as they could.
4. Citizens who saw the photo called in with tips about the possible identity of the suspect.
5. The police took the tips seriously and hit the streets hard.
And by the end of the week, they had a suspect in custody.
Marcus Sterling Harris is innocent until he is—perhaps—proven guilty, so this case is not over. There are witnesses to gather and statements to collect.
But Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld were trying to make a point—that it is very possible to step too far over the line, even in a city as chaotic as Baltimore, and that they are capable of organizing swift and sure justice.
And they made that point.
Another point is this: we do, all of us, depend on each other to be safe, secure and reasonably happy in this city that we love. The tip that led detectives to Harris probably came from the west side, since that’s where Harris lives. But the tip is helping people all over the city feel a little more secure in the knowledge that there are plenty of people in this city who will help police when called upon.
There was a mugging in Butchers Hill on July 4, right after the fireworks, on the north side of the 2100 block E. Baltimore Street.
Anyone with information on this crime can call the Southeastern District detective squad at 410-396-2429.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity on the street should call 911.
Perhaps the July 4 murder can inspire us all to get involved.
—Jacqueline Watts, Editor