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'Shoot to Kill': A Baltimore Sun investigation

A new Baltimore Sun investigation, "Shoot to Kill," takes a hard look at rising homicide rates there.

For the five-part series, reporter Justin George interviewed police chiefs, victims of gun violence and shooters and examined hundreds of crime and hospital records. 

In Baltimore, where they see nearly 1,000 shootings a year, medical professionals have noted both an increase in fatal gunshot wounds and low survival rates. Rising homicide rates are tied to what George describes as a surge in incidents in which the shooter has an intent to kill.

Here's a look at his series:

Quinzell Covington went on a shooting "caper" for the first time in the late 1990s with his cousins and friends. The tough guys who raised him in ways of the streets pulled the trigger that day. Afterward, over Chinese takeout, he tried to ingratiate himself with the crew by declaring that their victim got what he deserved.

He was about 13 years old. Growing up, he knew it was wrong to shoot a man. Still, he said, he didn't feel remorse. What he did feel was that his crew had newfound respect for him. 

By 15, he was the one doing the shooting. Over the next dozen years, he learned to do it well. He used 9 mm guns that held 16 bullets and Mac-10 submachine guns. He lured victims to his turf, where he could scout for witnesses and surveillance cameras, in what he called his "Miranda check" — a macabre reference to the right to remain silent.

He also knew where to aim.


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