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Monday, 17 August 2009

Members of two gangs, a Bloods faction and a Crips faction, passed each other in a hallway and exchanged words.

12:04 |

Members of two gangs, a Bloods faction and a Crips faction, passed each other in a hallway and exchanged words.Then, "one coward sucker-punched a kid in the other group," he said.As a scuffle broke out, someone told police that a person in the pavilion had a gun, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.Before officers could arrive, a member of the Crips had fired a semi-automatic handgun, according to police.One victim lay bleeding on the ground. Another left and was found by police at a nearby amphitheater. Neither shooting victim was willing to give police information about the incident, Bealefeld said, noting that it took hours before the second victim admitted that he had been shot at the Inner Harbor.Law enforcement officials have struggled for decades over how best to monitor and combat gang activity in Baltimore and elsewhere in Maryland. State lawmakers have passed measures aimed at gang leaders in recent years, but prosecutors say the new laws are cumbersome and should be strengthened.Margaret Burns, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office, said it is critical that Maryland define "gang member" in state law and devise enhanced penalties for gang members who are convicted of shootings and other violence. She said prosecutors also want to see a new statute that would allow them to go after anyone who furthers a gang enterprise, such as through drug dealing."It's not a crime to be a gang member," Burns said. "That's the challenge we face."She said police and prosecutors across the state will lobby for new gang legislation next year, but they'll likely face stiff resistance from the House Judiciary Committee, which has questioned the constitutional ramifications of gang-specific legislation."I would hope you don't embark on a crusade to put people in jail because of the color that they wear," Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons, a Montgomery County Democrat, told prosecutors during the 2007 session. Burns also said local law enforcement agencies, including police and prosecutors, are trying to create better information-sharing systems about gangs. But gang members, she said, seem to

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