Dixon: Gun-toting suspects have prior charges
Apr 12, 2007
BALTIMORE - Dayron Bishop, who was charged last month in a Baltimore City shooting, is no stranger to weapons charges.
At age 24, Bishop already had been arrested six previous times and accused of illegally using firearms. Just last year, Bishop was convicted of being a felon in possession of a handgun, but he received no jail time when a Baltimore County judge let him go with a suspended sentence.
Bishop is one of 42 people arrested and charged this year with nonfatal shootings, according to data released by Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon at Wednesday’s Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council meeting.
“I don’t recall ever in my life the number of guns that have become a part of people’s everyday living,” Dixon said.
“I’ve never experienced what I’ve seen today,” she said. “It’s a way of life for folks.”
Data presented by Dixon at the council meeting showed:
» Of the 42 people charged with gun crimes in Baltimore between Jan. 1 and March 21 of this year, 24 suspects — or 57 percent — had been previously charged with gun crimes a total of 52 times.
» Of those 52 prior arrests, 15 resulted in gun convictions and five in non-gun convictions, while 31 cases were dropped. Four cases are pending trial.
» Four of this year’s 42 gun suspects were out on bail for another gun-related crime at the time they were charged with this year’s shootings.
“I’m not pointing the finger at anyone,” Dixon said of the data. “I’m just saying that we need to look at a crime-fighting strategy to get these guns off the street.”
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy took issue with Dixon’s statistics, questioning their accuracy.
“There’s a saying that ‘A lie is halfway around the world before the truth gets an opportunity to put its pants on,’ ” Jessamy said. “... When you look at this information, there were a lot of questions that we have. ... It’s not helping a situation that is really a very serious situation.”
Baltimore City Circuit Judge John Glynn said everyone in Baltimore is feeling the pain of gun violence.
“No one here disputes that the city is under a great deal of stress because of all this violence,” Glynn said, “particularly gun violence. We have to be focused on those people and cases who are involved in gun use.”
Jessamy said she’s been committed to battling gun violence since 1997 and thinks the issue is more serious than ever.
“We can’t convict everybody without evidence,” Jessamy said. “We’re doing the best we can. We’re going to continue to do that. And that’s my commitment.”
http://www.examiner.com/a-669626~Dixon_ ... arges.html