BLACK VOICES

How One Man's Death Shows The Chasm Between Black And White Baltimore

A white journalist describes his connection to a black murder victim who “probably never had a chance."

On New Year's Day, Adam Marton, director of interactive design at The Baltimore Sun, published a heartbreaking infographic. It showed that of the record 344 people murdered in Baltimore last year, 93 percent were black, and most of them were young men. 

In this July 30, 2015 picture, a man walks past a corner in Baltimore that was cordoned off because of a shooting. There
In this July 30, 2015 picture, a man walks past a corner in Baltimore that was cordoned off because of a shooting. There were 344 murders in Baltimore in 2015. New York City, which is 13 times larger than Baltimore, had 348 murders last year.

Journalists regularly traffic in such grim statistics, and we can sometimes become a little numb to what they represent: dead human beings and their lives reduced to plot points on this graph or that chart. 

But for Marton, the long list of last year's homicides contained a name that he knew personally: Thelonious Monk. Monk, 28, was gunned down in West Baltimore in August, and his death marked the city's 212th homicide of 2015.

On Tuesday, Marton wrote a poignant Facebook post about how his and Monk's lives crossed, "however oddly and briefly," and how their story demonstrates the awful chasm between white Baltimore and black Baltimore, and between white America and black America. 

"Thelonious," he wrote, "probably never had a chance." 

Officers responded to a report of a shooting on August 19, 2015, Chakia Fennoy, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Police Department, told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. Police found Monk suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and he later died at the hospital.

An investigation later revealed that Monk was was shot on the 2300 block of Wilkens Avenue, then ran to the 500 block of South Catherine Street, where he collapsed.

No one has been arrested in Monk's death, Fennoy said, and the investigation is ongoing.

According to the Baltimore City Paper, Monk was two blocks away from his home when he was shot. 

"He was murdered just outside of the Carrollton Ridge neighborhood," according to the paper, "about three blocks west of where another 28-year-old man was shot 24 hours before." 

Correction: A previous photo caption in this article incorrectly stated that Baltimore had more murders in 2015 than New York City. In fact, it had more murders per capita. New York City, which is 13 times larger than Baltimore, had 348 murders in 2015. Baltimore had 344.

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