Quinton Rodgers’ death Saturday from injuries he suffered during a 2004 shooting is one of a growing number of homicide cases in Baltimore in which nonfatal shootings turn into murder investigations a year or more after the initial incident.
In 2018, 13 people died from injuries they’d suffered in shootings in the city the previous years, increasing the overall homicide rate.
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As the number of fatalities in the city continues to rise — there were 309 last year — why do some who survived being shot sometimes die years later from related injuries?
Long road to recovery
Dr. Thomas Scalea, the physician-in-chief at Shock Trauma, told The Baltimore Sun last year that medicine has progressed to the point where “people survive now that didn’t survive 20 years ago, 10 years ago.”
But infection, internal bleeding and other complications can require multiple surgeries and leave gunshot survivors at risk of dying.
If someone is shot in the head or pancreas, Scalea said, he or she can need to spend up to nine months in the hospital and undergo multiple reconstruction surgeries.
On Dec. 8, 2017, Devonte Rhodes died of injuries he suffered from a shooting June 9, 2013, after he was struck several times in the torso in the 1900 block of Wilkens Avenue in Carrollton Ridge in West Baltimore, paralyzing him.
Rhodes’ mother, Kim Harris-Elbourne, told The Sun last year that while Rhodes survived the shooting, he never fully recovered and remained the hospital for much of his remaining life.
Baltimore police said Rodgers, too, was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot multiple times in the torso.
Part of a growing pattern
While it’s much more common for a victim to die in the immediate aftermath of a shooting, Rodgers is part of a growing trend.
In 2015, three people in the city died from shootings that happened in previous years. That number rose to four in 2016, 10 in 2017 and 13 last year.
Shootings that result in long hospitalizations are a drain on families.
Harris-Elbourne said her son required a feeding tube to live. Before Rhodes died, she said, his condition put such a strain on her that her doctor advised her to stop visiting him so regularly because it caused her blood pressure to rise.
Investigation into Rodgers’ death
As for Rodgers, police have not announced the arrest of any suspect after his death last week.
He was originally found suffering from gunshot wounds Oct. 6, 2004, in the 400 block of Normandy Ave. in Allendale in West Baltimore.
Police had charged a 26-year-old man with attempted murder about a week after the incident but dropped the charges.