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Baltimore Officials & Clergy Ask For Help After Dozens Killed

BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) -- The surge in violence continues in Baltimore as the police report more shootings, the last of which happened late Saturday in Northeast Baltimore.

Christie Ileto has more on how clergy and lawmakers are trying to calm anxious residents.

At least 40 shootings have happened in the last 10 days and 16 of them were deadly.

Police say two people were shot on Saturday. Neither of the shootings was fatal.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. Saturday, police say a man was shot in the back while standing on Edison Highway in northeast Baltimore. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Earlier Saturday afternoon, a man was shot in the leg in west Baltimore.

Police have stepped up their presence on the streets in response to a surge in violence that included 11 fatal shootings in the span of a week. Commissioner Anthony Batts has said nearly three times the usual number of officers would be on the streets this weekend.

City clergy are now asking residents to step up and end this violent trend.

At Lafayette Avenue, a man is shot in the leg and at South Haven street, a woman is shot and killed.

"We've never had anything like this happen on Haven Street. I've been here for 15 years and never seen anything like that," said concerned resident John Wrencher.

His block becomes the latest home to Baltimore's nearly 40 shootings in two weeks. More than a dozen people are dead.

City clergy and members of 120 churches are rallying and praying this weekend for peace.

Even a 21-car motorcade drives through the city showing just how deadly this violent trend is becoming.

"If you put a police officer in every block, you still could not solve the program when the problem is inside of the individual, " said Bishop Angel L. Nunez of Bilingual Christian Church.

This recent surge in shootings highlights the city's problem with gun violence and homicide rate. So far this year, there have been around 117 homicides, the highest in six years.

But for Stephanie Rawlings Blake, it's personal.

Her cousin, was gunned down last month near his home.

"Whether our homicide rate is 200 or 300 or one, we can never get that life back," said Rawlings-Blake.

With the violence spotlighting Baltimore, the mayor said the solution starts with us.

"When we have a spike, we have cameras from all over the city, outside of the city, national reporters. I welcome them back for the miracle. I know that as you are standing here, you are not going to tolerate it," said Rawlings-Blake.

City leaders say that call to action, may stop the next shot from being fired in your neighborhood.

In the latest shooting, an adult male was shot in the back on a basketball court. He is being treated for non life-threatening injuries at a local hospital.

Police plan to step up enforcement through Fourth of July weekend.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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