December 1, 2011

Man wanted in Canton robberies apprehended

A man being sought by police since the summer in connection with a series of robberies in Canton has been apprehended, according to court records.

Jerry Harcum, 26, was charged Wednesday with handgun-related charges that occurred Tuesday, according to online court records. Harcum was also served with at least three outstanding warrants charging him with robbery: A July 4 armed robbery charge, a July 24 armed robbery charge, and an August 24 robbery charge in Baltimore County.

Police would not provide information on the circumstances of the handgun arrest, though Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said Wednesday that one of the suspects detained in a series of robberies and carjackings in Baltimore City and Baltimore County Tuesday night had "open robbery warrants."

In August, police said they were stepping up efforts to find Harcum after tying him to at least two robberies in Canton, amid a wave of robberies targeting women and tourists walking late at night in Canton and Fells Point.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore, Southeast Baltimore

Police pursue stolen truck cab down BW Parkway

The driver of a stolen tractor-trailer cab led city police on a chase down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway Wednesday night, ending in Prince George's County. The pursuit began after people in South Baltimore called 911 to report the truck going through residential neighborhoods.

"Upon noticing police, the driver refused to stop," police said in statement. The driver took the cab down the highway and lost control and crashed at Powder Mill Road. Police used Foxtrot, the helicopter, to assist, along with Maryland State Police troopers and U.S. Park Police.

Authorities said the driver faces traffic and theft charges and is wanted by police in Mississippi. No one was hurt and no cars were damaged.

Read details of another police chase in West and Northwest Baltimore.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:12 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

November 22, 2011

Car stop in Louisiana leads to drug bust in Baltimore

It started with a routine traffic stop in Louisiana, and ended with a drug bust in South Baltimore.

Federal authorities said a Louisiana State Police officer pulled over a white Chevy Impala on Nov. 10 and found "five brick-shaped packages of suspected cocaine" hidden in a back panel of the driver's seat.

Police arrested the driver and said in court documents that he agreed to cooperate. He told detectives that he had come from Texas, and was delivering the cocaine to Baltimore.

Federal authorities traveled with the suspect to Baltimore, where they switched the real cocaine for "sham cocaine" -- leaving 5 grams of the real cocaine to avoid getting caught, and prepared for delivery to a house in the Fairfield neighborhood.

On Nov. 11, the suspect, with police watching from the ground and in a helicopter above, delivered the drugs to the house in the 3500 block of 8th Ave. It's located in the Fairfield industrial area.

Federal agents swooped in to arrest two people who emerged from the house and went to the vehicle. Court documents say both men ran into the house but were quickly arrested inside.

Read the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore:

Continue reading "Car stop in Louisiana leads to drug bust in Baltimore" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:33 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: South Baltimore

November 21, 2011

South Baltimore ATF operation: a set-up?

Last week, we reported on court documents showing that ATF agents were involved in a gun battle in South Baltimore with a group of men recruited by an undercover officer to steal back cocaine for a Mexican cartel supplier. Officials have declined to comment on whether the premise of the operation was a ruse, but consider this article from the Austin American Statesman last year:

The five men met at a South Austin hotel last month with someone they thought was a disgruntled member of a local drug-trafficking organization.

They brought pistols, rifles, gloves, duct tape, zip ties , bulletproof vests and extra boxes of ammunition for what they thought would be a robbery that would net them as much as 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds) of cocaine from a local drug stash house, according to a federal court affidavit.

But the person who set up the robbery was an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the men accused of being prepared to carry it out were arrested.

The Aug. 18 bust was the second in about a month made by the ATF in Austin under similar circumstances, according to arrest affidavits: An undercover agent tells a suspect that he knows of a drug stash house and asks the suspect if he wants to rob it. That suspect recruits others, and when they are about to carry out the robbery, they are all arrested.

Sound familiar?

In the article, defense attorneys raised the possibility that the informant and agents had committed entrapment. But court records show those hopes were quickly dashed - all pleaded guilty within a few months and received lengthy prison sentences.

In the South Baltimore case, agents say they have Dawron Kip Mason on tape explaining how he was experienced in such home invasion/robberies and would get together a group to carry out the task. Agents moved in for the arrest after Mason and the undercover agent discussed the final preparations, but the suspects tried to speed off, striking cars and driving through a fence before firing at officers, according to court documents.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 6:13 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: South Baltimore

November 17, 2011

Man sentenced to life for killing federal witness in Westport

A 31-year-old man has been sentenced to four life prison terms for executing a federal witness who fingered a dozen suspected drug dealers in South Baltimore's Westport neighborhood. The victim, Kareem Guest, pleaded for mercy before being shot a dozen times on the street in 2009.

Guest was outed as an informant after an FBI report detailing his cooperation was leaked and posted throughout the neighborhood, where Guest and his killer lived. The shooter, Antonio "Mack" Hall, 30, was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in August.

The Sun's court reporter, Tricia Bishop, recounts the chilling details of the case in her coverage of the trial. Testimony revealed that Hall had a history of retaliating against witnesses and so-called "snitches," and was linked to the killing of a teen-aged drug dealer, shot as he played video games, and to the shooting of a junkie who had helped police arrest one of his friends.

Guest, arrested on heroin distribution charges in 2008, had agreed to cooperate with the FBI to bring down a gang selling heroin branded "Dynasty." His help led to the convictions of eight defendants, including the ring-leader who went away for 22 years.

A defense attorney for one of those suspects was given a copy of Guest's FBI statement so he could prepare his defense. Defense attorneys are allowed to share the information with their clients, but not hand over hard copies. The attorney admitted to giving a copy to his client and to his client's mother.

Once on the street, the document became a virtual wanted poster, prosecutors said, leading to the killing of Guest. The attorney, a former federal prosecutor from Detroit, was not prosecuted, but he was later disbarred for taking on clients and pocketing fees without telling his own law firm.

Lawyers for Hall argued that Guest had many enemies and that their client was the killer, but the jury rejected the arguments. The case highlighted the troubling issue of witness intimidation and showed how dangerous it is to be an informant.

Guest's statement to the FBI was tacked to telephone poles and to a basketball hoop in Westport and a copy was even found in a jail cell in New Jersey. 

November 16, 2011

The story behind crash, gunfire in South Baltimore

The vehicle accident and exchange of gunfire in South Baltimore Monday came as agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives moved to arrest a group of men who were en route to commit a home invasion and robbery, documents show.

Details of the operation have been scarce, and the agency did not initially disclose that shots had been fired. Documents, however, show that the men had traveled to the area to meet with an undercover ATF agent under the guise of making final preparations for the robbery.

On Nov. 3, a confidential source met with Dawron Kip Mason, 25, at an undisclosed YMCA, and told Mason that a disgruntled drug courier wanted to contract Mason to obtain cocaine that was property of a Mexican drug cartel, documents show. Mason "assured [the source] that he was experienced in this area and wanted to commit the robbery," the documents say. "This is ... what we do," Mason is alleged to have said.

Five days later, Mason met with an undercover agent, who explained the set up of the house they were planning to hit. It is not clear from the documents whether the entire operation was a ruse, but Mason told the agent he had a "couple of dudes that will go straight in there, knock them off." He said he would "knock down [an armed guard], tie him up, go for the second dude, tie both of [them] up," and knock them unconscious, according to records.

The undercover agent and Mason agreed to meet Nov. 14, and at about 3:45 p.m., they met on Patapsco Ave. Mason had six other men with him, and they went over the outline of the robbery. "Is that cool, we straight?" he said. 

Agents then decided to move in. Mason attempted to flee by driving a white Ford Explorer into a moving van being utilized by police, then through a six-foot-high chain link fence, and through a parking lot where they crashed into a bystander's vehicle, agents wrote in court papers. The Explorer continued across four lanes of traffic but crashed into a telephone pole.

All of the men attempted to flee on foot but were captured by law enforcement agents. Agents found two spent shell casings inside the Explorer, as well a 9 mm Glock pistol, a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, and a .45 caliber Springfield Armory 1911-A1 handgun, according to documents.

Charged in the case are: Mason, Michael Allen Smith, 19, Brandon Sykes, 25, Douglas McArthur Thomas, 22, Donte Terrell Thornton, 27, and Christopher Lee Turpin, 28. They are each charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. 

The men all appeared to have previous criminal records. Mason was charged in 2009 with attempted first degree murder and armed robbery, and pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and received six months in jail, court records show.

Turpin was charged in 2004 with first-degree murder and was convicted of manslaughter, receiving 10 years in prison. According to an account in The Sun, two women were fighting when Thomas Grimes got involved. Turpin, a friend of one of the women, shot Grimes. 

Sykes, meanwhile, was sentenced to five years in prison for firearm possession in 2007, records show.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

November 15, 2011

ATF agents exchanged gunfire in South Baltimore operation; information not initially disclosed

[UPDATE: Above, watch surveillance video WJZ-TV obtained showing part of the raid, including snipers on the roof of a building and a car crash.]

At least one federal ATF agent exchanged gunfire with a suspect during an initiative in South Baltimore Monday evening. That information was not disclosed by a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives until pressed for details this morning.

Special Agent Clare A. Weber confirmed reports from city police sources and some witnesses. She said at first only that shots had been fired and that any more details were part of a "shooting review" done by commanders. She later that "gunshots were exchanged."

Further details of the operation were not divulged. City police, who are not involved in the investigation, release information about police-involved shootings almost immediately after such incidents occur.

One agent and several people were injured in the initiative in the 1000 block of West Patapsco Ave., near Magnolia Ave., in Cherry Hill, west of Brooklyn. Authorities would not say if it was an arrest operation or the serving of search warrants.

None of the injuries were serious and none resulted from gunfire, Weber said. There was an accident involving a sport utility vehicle, and reports from the city fire union that a pedestrian was hit and possibly pinned by a car.

Federal authorities would not say whether the arrests stemmed from the investigation, the crash or the gunfire. Witnesses told WJZ-TV that agents chased the SUV across a parking lot. 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:57 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

Few details released in ATF raid in South Baltimore

Few details about how a federal ATF agent was injured during an operation Monday evening in South Baltimore. An agency spokeswoman did confirm that several suspects also were injured when she said they tried to leave the scene in a sport utility vehicle.

The incident occurred in the 1000 block of West Patapsco Ave., near Magnolia Avenue, west of Brooklyn in what appears to be an industrial area. Agents with the ATF's Violent Crime Impact Team led the initiative, but officials declined to provide more details.

The Baltimore fire union had initially reported that the injuries were from some time of car accident, which was confirmed by the ATF spokeswoman. The union said a pedestrian was hit by a car, but that could not be confirmed on Monday.

We'll keep track of this story as developments materialize. Watch video from the scene from WJZ-TV.
Posted by Peter Hermann at 6:35 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

November 14, 2011

ATF agent injured on arrest operation in South Baltimore

A federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was injured Monday evening while serving arrest warrants as part of an operation in South Baltimore, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

Details were still coming in but city police report that West Patapsco Avenue at Magnolia Avenue is closed in both directions as of 5:15 p.m. The Baltimore fire union reports on Twitter that the incident involves an accident with a pedestrian struck.

Special Agent Clare Weber, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore ATF field office, confirmed that an accident occurred but she had no details on how the agent was injured. She said the agent suffered non-life threatening injuries during an enforcement operation in which several people were taken into custody.

No other details were immediately available.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 5:16 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

November 10, 2011

Man charged in Ridgely's Delight burglaries

Yesterday, we wrote in this space about Reuel Belt, a 28-year-old who was pulled over in Ridgely's Delight while helping with the production with the television show "Kitchen Nightmares." Belt was upset that the officer had suspected him of being a potential burglary suspect, and said he felt the stop amounted to racial profiling. Police retorted that there had indeed been a rash of burglaries in the area and that officers had been encouraged to stop people acting suspiciously.

Now comes word that police have charged a suspect in at least four recent burglaries in the area. And the arrest was made by the same officer - James O'Brien - who Belt says pulled him over. 

A recent victim of a burglary in the 600 block of Portland St. called police at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday and said that she saw a man walking in the neighborhood holding a black and red bag that had been stolen from her in a recent burglary. The suspect was identified as 26-year-old Raymond Causion (seen at right), and police ran a check of pawn shop records that showed Causion had pawned laptops, a Nintendo Wii, DVDs and jewelry that had been stolen from the victim on Oct. 25. The estimated value of the items taken was more than $7,000.

Causion denied involvement in the burglaries and said he found the red and black bag in an alley, police wrote in charging documents.

"Over the last few months there have been numerous burglaries in this area with the same m.o. as the burglary that occurred at the victim's home, where the suspect kicked in the front door of the residence," police wrote in a statement of probable cause. Court records show Causion has been charged in at least three other cases and was being held on $50,000 bond.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

November 9, 2011

Pulled over while working with TV crew, man alleges racial profiling

UPDATE, 5:30 PM: Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police have been grappling with a series of burglaries in Ridgely's Delight and officers were told to stop people who were "demonstrating suspicious behavior." He said the efforts appear to have paid off - police yesterday took into custody a "person of interest" in those crimes, he said.

Reuel Belt was cruising around downtown with production staff for the television show "Kitchen Nightmares" on Tuesday afternoon when a city police officer pulled him over and began running his information.

Belt, who is black and grew up in blighted Baltimore but went on to attend private school, play college lacrosse and work for the state attorney general's office, said he's frustrated because he believes the stop was an example of racial profiling.

"[The officer] told us we looked suspicious because we were driving slow," said Belt, 28, who tweeted about the situation as it was happening (see below). "It's foolish, and I worry about other young males, who don't know what to do when they get pulled over by the cops. What do they do when that happens?"

Belt reels off an impressive list of credentials and contacts. He said he has been employed at Johns Hopkins University and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, worked under Attorney General Douglas Gansler and with Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, and counts super lawyer Ron Shapiro among his mentors. He credits his single mother, who made sure growing up that he was busy with sports, drama and other extracurricular activities, with keeping him out of trouble as a kid. 

These days, he's pursuing acting and modeling, and was assisting the production crew of Chef Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" as it puts together a piece focused on Baltimore and Cafe Hon. 

He was helping the crew gather footage of city landmarks when they drove into Ridgely's Delight around 2 p.m. Belt says he made a wrong turn and was slowing down to figure out his way when they were pulled over. He says the officer first said that there had been a rash of burglaries in the area and that the van appeared suspicious. After collecting their IDs and running a warrant check, he said they were ticketed for having a broken tail light on the rented vehicle. Though it ultimately was nothing more than a hassle that led them to miss a few stops on their tour of the city, Belt said the stop was indicative of a larger issue.

Police did not respond to requests for comment on whether officers had been instructed to step up patrol in Ridgley's Delight and whether the stop was within protocols. In recent days, others have contacted The Sun alleging police harassment - one man from Southern Maryland, who was white, said he was taken to Central Booking for driving on a suspended license, another said his wallet was taken during a traffic stop and he has been unable to get it back.

"I love Baltimore. I'm trying to push the city, I'm getting stopped for foolishness," Belt said. "Other kids here, they don't have nearly as much public and social skills. ... Something's got to be done."


Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:40 PM | | Comments (24)
Categories: South Baltimore

November 2, 2011

Feds indict 22 alleged Dead Man Inc. members

Nearly two dozens alleged members of a homegrown prison gang that has spread throughout the country have been indicted on federal racketeering charges that include accusations that they conspired to kill four people, officials announced Wednesday.

Follow this link for the full story.

The alleged Dead Man Inc. members, who refer to themselves as "dawgs" and espouse an anti-government philosophy, used contraband cellphones to direct activities and spread its membership into South Baltimore, eastern Baltimore County, northern Anne Arundel County and at least three other states, authorities said.

Among those charged are the alleged co-founders Perry Roark and James Sweeney. Roark, a Dundalk native who is referred to as the "supreme commander," was charged earlier this year in another murder, days before he was to be released from a 25-year prison term.

"On our streets, this organization has been involved in street robberies, home invasions, property thefts, intimidation, assaults — you name it, they're involved in it," said Randall Jones Sr., an Anne Arundel County police commander. "The northern part of our county has been plagued by these individuals, and this is a major blow to this organization."

The gang formed in the late 1990s. Roark was reportedly close with members of the Black Guerrilla Family, law enforcement officials say, but that gang's rules prohibited him from joining because he is white. With their blessing, officials say he formed a new gang at the Jessup prison that would become an umbrella organization of sorts for other white gangs and performed hits for the BGF.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Gangs, South Baltimore

October 15, 2011

Two killed in city Friday night, today

Baltimore police are investigating two killings -- one in Northeast Baltimore that occurred Friday night, and another in South Baltimore that happened this afternoon.

The latest slaying occurred just after 2 p.m. on Pennington Avenue in Curtis Bay. Few details were immediately available, but police said the victim had been stabbed.

The killing in Northeast Baltimore occurred about 8 p.m. in the 1500 block of East 29th St. An officer responding to reports of shots fired found the body of a man; he was pronounced dead at the scene. He has not yet been identified. 


Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Northeast Baltimore, South Baltimore

October 11, 2011

Teen slain in Mount Clare

Baltimore City police are investigating the killing of a 17-year-old boy, who was shot multiple times in the upper body at about 10 p.m. Monday in the 1400 block of Kuper Place near West Pratt Street.

The victim, identified as Devearl Singletary, ran to the home of a friend, who called police from the residence in the 200 block of S. Calhoun St.

Singletary was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m. Police have no information on motives or suspect, but we're told Singletary was a student at Augusta Fells Savage Institute for Visual Arts.

Singletary is the second student from that school killed in the past month. Bruce Benn, 16, was shot in the head on Sept. 14 in the 1900 block of W. Lombard St. That case remains open.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:18 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: South Baltimore

October 5, 2011

Update on fatal police shooting in Brooklyn

Police today said that a 52-year-old musician was sitting on his bed in his room when he was fatally shot Sunday night by a city patrol officer after refusing to drop a weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun.

The agency identified the officer as Joseph Schanamann, a four year veteran who has been involved in one prior shooting - in 2009, when he shot a police dog that attacked him, according to reports at the time. Schanamann is on routine administrative suspension as detectives investigate the shooting.

There's been an outpouring of grief among friends of victim Steve Mach, stretching from Baltimore to New York City, where he worked for years as a lighting tech at the famed CBGB's rock club. Before that, he played in a few glam rock bands, including a local group called The Vamps.

"It's a shock to us all," said Jackie Luther, who worked with Mach at CBGB. "He was a very gentle person. I can't see this happening - it's very out of character." 

Luther said Mach had moved back to Baltimore a few years ago after the death of his mother. He was an animal activist who worked with BARCS, the South Baltimore animal rescue shelter, and owned several cats, she said. He did not have a criminal record here. 

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officers were called to Mach's home in the 3600 block of St. Victor St. after his roommate called police to report that Mach was armed and said he was fearful for his own safety. Officers entered the home and went upstairs, where they found Mach sitting on his bed. The officers demanded that he drop a weapon he was holding - police describe it as a pellet gun that resembled a .45 caliber handgun - and fired at least one shot when he refused to comply.

"You have to follow police commands, especially when you're holding a weapon in your hands," Guglielmi said. 

Friends have scheduled a candlelight vigil for Mach tonight (Wednesday) in front of his home. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:09 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Police shootings, South Baltimore

October 4, 2011

20-year-old man fatally shot in Brooklyn

Police say a 20-year-old man reported to have been shot in the legs in South Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood on Monday afternoon died from his injuries.

Few details were available. Police said the victim, identified as Maricus Kyle Perkins, was found in the 900 block of Herndon Ct. at about 1:45 p.m. suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his lower body. He was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died at 2:25 p.m. Perkins' last known address was in the 300 block of Orchard Ave. 

Police didn't have a suspect or motives but said Perkins was on probation at the time of his death, and court records show he had been accused of being involved in gun violence, including several counts of attempted murder for which he was found not guilty in 2010.

Perkins' killing is the second in the 900 block of Herndon Ct., which is in the Brooklyn Homes housing development, in the past three months. In late July, 18-year-old Marcus Harvell was fatally shot in the same block where Perkins was discovered Monday. 

Police also identified as the man fatally shot Sept. 28 in the 2200 block of Garrison Blvd. as 45-year-old Dwight Montgomery. That case remains open; the past 17 killings in Baltimore are unsolved.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 7:20 PM | | Comments (12)
Categories: South Baltimore

Friends: Man shot by police was punk rocker, death noted by CBGB

UPDATE: Police have released more details on Sunday's shooting.

Word of the identity of a 52-year-old man shot by city police Sunday night came in an unlikely place - the Facebook page for legendary New York City punk rock venue CBGB's.

On Monday afternoon, the CBGB page displayed a picture (seen at right) accompanied by the caption, "Rest in Peace to Steve Mach. We are so stunned at this tragic loss. You will be missed." Friends said Mach was the man shot by police Sunday night in the Brooklyn neighborhood of South Baltimore.

Police said they had been called to a home in the 3600 block of St. Victor St. for a report of an armed man and saw Mach holding what appeared to be a handgun. When he turned toward the officer, he was shot and wounded. Police later learned he had been holding a pellet gun, and he died at a local hospital.

According to various web sites, Mach was a member of a Baltimore-based glam rock cover band called The Vamps that became popular in the region and did some touring. In the late 80s, he moved to New York City and teamed up with Billy Idol's former drummer, forming a band called Skin N Bones. He also worked at CBGB's, with one site referring to him as "CB's Lighting Magician": "I remember seeing him almost every time I was there," one friend posted on the venue's Facebook page. "He worked at CB's forever. He was a musician, an animal advocate, and a friend," another wrote. The club closed in 2006.

The Vamps had in recent years played reunion shows in the area, including Dec. 10 at the Recher Theater. Mach did not have a criminal record, records show, and police haven't provided additional details on the dispute that led to the shooting.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:00 AM | | Comments (51)
Categories: Police shootings, South Baltimore

October 3, 2011

City police shoot, critically wound armed man

UPDATE, 12:45 P.M. - Police say the victim, a 52-year-old who has not yet been identified, died from his injuries. Police also say the weapon he was holding was a pellet gun that looked like a .45 caliber handgun.

Baltimore police officers, responding to a call for a man armed with a gun inside a house in Brooklyn, shot and critically wounded the suspect Sunday night. Here is an account from The Sun:

Police received a call shortly before 9 p.m. from a person inside a house in the 3600 block of St. Victor Street in the Southern District, saying that another person in the house was armed, sand police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He said patrol officers entered the house and found an armed man between 40 and 50 years old and asked him multiple times to put down his weapon.

"He turned and faced police with a weapon in his hand and was fired upon," said Guglielmi, who said at least one officer fired. He did not know how many officers had responded to the call.
The man was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in critical condition, Guglielmi said. Homicide detectives are investigating, a practice that is standard in police-involved shootings, Guglielmi said.
Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:32 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Police shootings, South Baltimore

September 29, 2011

Another home invasion by police impersonators

City police are investigating another home invasion incident in which the suspects entered a home claiming to be police.

Anthony Guglielmi, the department's chief spokesman, said the latest occurred at about 3:20 a.m. in the 2800 block of Hilldale Ave in the West Forest Park Park Circle neighborhood of Northwest Baltimore.  Three men - two white and one black - forced their way into the home and yelled "Police," he said. One of them had a silver badge on his belt, and they handcuffed two people and began searching through the home, police said.

One victim broke free and approached one of the suspects, and was shot in the face, police said. He was transported to an area hospital, where he was last listed in stable condition. Guglielmi said the suspects fled in a silver vehicle.

There have been a number of similar incidents in recent months. In June, three men kicked in the door to a home in the Ednor Gardens Lakeside community, bound a man and his wife, and shot the man. It happened again in Federal Hill the next month, as well as Northwest Baltimore. Police have arrested at least one man in those attacks.

The Hillsdale Road shooting wasn't the only home invasion overnight that ended with a shooting. At about 5 a.m., in the 4100 block of Townsend Ave. in Brooklyn, three masked men forced their way into a home and pistol whipped and bound the three occupants. A 25-year-old woman was sexually assaulted, and a 45-year-old man was shot in the stomach. Police believe the suspects were looking for drugs and other items.

The shooting victim was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, as were the two other victims. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:28 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Northwest Baltimore, South Baltimore

September 19, 2011

Police identify man found dead in Brooklyn alley

Police have identified a man found dead Friday in an alley in Brooklyn as a 42-year-old Glen Burnie man.

Armando Santiago was found unresponsive at about 6:15 p.m. Friday in an alley in the rear of the 700 block of E. Patapsco Ave. There were no signs of foul play or trauma to his body, but police say an autopsy shows that he had been strangled. 

Santiago was from the 5600 block of Park Rd in Glen Burnie, and police say they didn't have any additional information about the case as detectives investigate. Anyone with information was asked to call 410-396-2100.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:52 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, South Baltimore

September 15, 2011

ATF looking for 55 suspects in Brooklyn-Reservoir Hill case

[Photo courtesy ATF]

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have charged 55 people as part of a yearlong investigation into a drug organization operating out of South Baltimore with ties to Reservoir Hill and Anne Arundel County.

Authorities began tracking down the suspects early Wednesday morning as part their "Operation Brooklyn to the Bay" case, ATF spokeswoman Clare Weber said. Thirty-nine suspects were arrested and 16 were considered fugitives as of this afternoon, she said.

"We conducted a very large-scale operation yesterday," Weber said. "We were looking for several individuals from this drug organization." 

In addition to the Brooklyn area of South Baltimore, Weber said the investigation took agents into Reservoir Hill, and search warrants were also executed in Anne Arundel County. The indictments are terse, but charge the suspects with dealing large amounts of cocaine.

A law enforcement source not authorized to speak about the case said the drug organization had loose affiliations with the Bloods gang. 

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors said Kevin Thomas, Brandon Miller, Jerry Walker, Omar Anderson and Larry Harlee were arrested and made initial appearances in court. Another man, Robert King, was charged by criminal complaint after agents serving a search warrant on his home found ammunition. Prosecutors provided federal indictments for a total of 15 individuals, and say other defendants will face charges in state court.

Continue reading "ATF looking for 55 suspects in Brooklyn-Reservoir Hill case" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:24 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: South Baltimore

September 9, 2011

Southern District cops get $300,000 for equipment

Officers in the Baltimore Police Department's Southern District will have new computers, bikes and other equipment thanks to $300,000 in gifts from three benefactors, who hope to spur donations from city businesses in other districts.

Police announced the gifts Thursday at the Locust Point headquarters of apparel company Under Armour, whose CEO, Kevin Plank, contributed one-third of the money and said city businesses need to "do more" to help police.

A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, the former executive director of the CIA and co-chairman of the Baltimore Police Foundation, also gave $100,000 and said he hopes the gift will spur businesses in the city's other eight districts to do the same.

"If this works, we intend to roll it out throughout the city, and this will have national policing implications," Krongard said. "If you can't get more bodies, you have to equip [the officers] better, and you have to train them better."

The city has been struggling with budget cuts, though the Police Department is hiring new officers and has not been hit as hard as other city agencies.

Still, police say they need better equipment to fight crime, and the gifts from Plank, Krongard and developer Jack Luetkemeyer will buy 30 desktop computers, nine electronic tablet devices, four fingerprint scanners, eight bicycles, 20 Tasers, and improvements to the district's gym.
Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:45 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: South Baltimore

September 2, 2011

Boyfriend arrested in woman's death in South Baltimore

A 51-year-old man was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after he told police he beat his girlfriend, who later died at an area hospital.

Police said they were called to the 900 block of Leadenhall St., in the Sharp Leadenhall community between Federal Hill and M&T Bank Stadium, at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday for a report of an assault. When the officers arrived, they were met by Gary Allmond, who said he had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend, said Det. Donny Moses, a police spokesman. During the fight, he said he had beaten her and put her into a headlock, at which point she stopped breathing.

The woman, who has not been identified yet pending notification of her next of kin, was pronounced dead at 1:45 p.m. Allmond was charged with first-degree murder and was being held without bond pending a bail review hearing.

Court records show Allmond has no prior criminal record in Maryland. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 9:51 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: South Baltimore

August 29, 2011

Death of Northeast Baltimore girl, 4, investigated as homicide

The death of a 4-year-old girl taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital last week with severe head trauma is being investigated as a murder, city police said.
Police were contacted on Aug. 24 by child protective services officials, who said 4-year-old Dramiara Johnson had been admitted to the hospital with massive head trauma and was not expected to survive. The girl’s mother said the girl had been “play-fighting” with her brother at their Northeast Baltimore home and fell and hit her head, but the attending physician “believed that this was not an accident,” according to Detective Donny Moses, a police spokesman.
Dramiara, of the 1700 block of Gorsuch Ave., remained hospitalized on life support for several days, until her family decided to take her off life support on Aug. 27, at 11:40 a.m., Moses said. The case was then referred to homicide detectives.
“Everyone in the family is a suspect,” Moses said of the continuing investigation.
Molly McGrath, director of the city’s Department of Social Services, said she could not discuss whether her agency had prior contacts with the family, but said such cases prompt investigations that would typically lead to other children being placed into foster care.
She said there’s a “crisis of parenting” when adults resort to physical abuse to discipline their children. “That’s not discipline – that’s anger, and we have to help adults control their anger,” McGrath said. 

Police were also investigating a shooting death that occurred Sunday night in South Baltimore. An unidentified man was found suffering from gunshot wounds in the 2800 block of Round Rd. at about 8:40 p.m. He was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m. Police said the man was found in the street, but investigators had few other details.
Police also identified a man found shot to death on Aug. 25 in the 1200 block of Valley St. in East Baltimore as Kennard Hailey, 26, of the 4900 block of Goodnow Road. A spokesman said police have little information about Hailey’s death, and the case remains open.
Anyone with information was asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:43 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Northeast Baltimore, South Baltimore

August 11, 2011

Man guilty in killing police informant in Westport

The Sun's Tricia Bishop reports breaking news from the federal courthouse:

After five hours of deliberation, a federal jury on Thursday convicted Antonio "Mack" Hall in the retaliation killing of an FBI informant, who told investigators that Hall liked to "bang the gun" and was connected to several drug-related murders in the city.

He was also found guilty of weapons violations and participating in a seven-year conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine in the tiny South Baltimore community of Westport, where both he and his victim lived. Hall, 30, shot Kareem Kelly Guest a half dozen times in September 2009 as the man pleaded for mercy.

This is the case in which the victim's written statement to the FBI, which helped put numerous South Baltimore drug dealers in federal prison, was leaked by a defense attorney and posted around the neighborhood.

Read full story here.

Read background story.

Here is a statement from the Maryland U.S.  Attorney's Office:

Continue reading "Man guilty in killing police informant in Westport" »

August 8, 2011

Annapolis officer indicted in fatal car crash

A former Annapolis and Baltimore police officer is facing manslaughter and drunk-driving charges in a car crash that left one man dead.

James Salyers, 52, of Gambrills, was indicted last week by a Baltimore grand jury in the October death of Andrew Arnold-McCoy 19, of Glen Burnie, according to court records. He is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 9 in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Charges against Salyers in the 10-count indictment include running a red light and speeding, according to court records. Reached by telephone, Salyers referred calls to his lawyer, Andrew I. Alperstein.

"The fault of the accident remains very much in dispute," Alperstein said. "There is evidence that refutes the state's theory of the case." He declined to discuss details.

Alperstein said his client retired from Baltimore city police as a detective before going to work with Annapolis Police Department and had a "long career of helping other people." Salyers had spent the last eight of his 28 ½ years with the Baltimore department in the executive protection detail for Mayors Martin O'Malley, Sheila Dixon and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, according to Alperstein.

Salyers, who had joined the Annapolis Police Department in late August 2010, resigned Aug. 1, 2011, said Sgt. Beth Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Annapolis department. He had been on administrative duty since the crash.

In 2008, according to a report at the time, Salyers traveled to Egypt on a city-funded "economic development" trip with Dixon. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, South Baltimore

August 3, 2011

Wanted posters lead to murder

It was a transcript of his interview with the FBI. In it, Kareem Kelly Guest had named named, outed a drug organization in Westport and helped put away a slew of dangerous felons. But one of their defense attorneys, who got the document as part of the discovery process, gave it to his client.

The document ended up posted all over Westport, which federal prosecutors say was akin to a death sentence. Guest was executed, shot twice in the back and four times in the head. And now his suspected killers are on trial in federal court.

The Sun's Tricia Bishop walks us through the openings of this trial, which included an admission by the now disbarred defense attorney about how he gave up the document, a violation of rules set down by prosecutors.

Here is the story.

August 2, 2011

National Night Out

National Night Out has become a big community event, getting residents and cops together to take back the streets. Below is a list of events in the city and the counties, scheduled for today, Aug. 2

National Night outs:

Baltimore City

Baltimore County

Harford County

Anne Arundel County

Howard County

I could only find one in Carroll County, in Eldersburg. Here is a link to details. If anyone knows of more here, please let me know and I'll post.

July 21, 2011

18-year-old basketball standout shot in South Baltimore


[UPDATE, 11:15 A.M. Police say that the preliminary investigation reveals the shooting may have been accidental and police are conferring with prosecutors.]

[Read more on Harvell here from Matt Bracken at The Sun's Recruit Report sports blog.]

An 18-year-old fatally shot in the Brooklyn Homes housing project on Wednesday afternoon was identified as Marcus Harvell, a basketball standout at a South Baltimore high school.

Investigators said the shooting occurred just before 3 p.m. Wednesday inside a building in the 900 block of Herndon Court in South Baltimore. Harvell was shot in the chest and was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead at 3:57 p.m., police said.

Harvell was a 6-foot-5 forward for Masonville Cove Academy in Brooklyn, where The Sun's Recruiting Report blogger Matt Bracken said he was generating serious interest from junior colleges

Coach William Russell told Matt in October that other city coaches told him that Harvell was one of “the most athletic big men in the city.”

According to top police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, officers detained and questioned two people who were on the scene and appeared to be trying to leave the building. As of Thursday morning, police say no suspects have been arrested. Harvell did not have an adult criminal record, court records show.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 8:25 AM | | Comments (30)
Categories: South Baltimore

July 18, 2011

Taking exception to how we report murder

UPDATE: Baltimore Police have now identified the man killed Sunday i Pigtown. He is the man identified in the community emails: Rasheed Abdullah

Cham once again takes exception to what we do and don't publish in some crime stories. Today, it'a about Sunday's killing in Pigtown, and anger in the community over whether the victim was a drug dealer that prosecutors failed to go after. Here is her comments:

I didn't break the Sun's written rules on comment posting yesterday on this story or the imaginary Peter Hermann rules about posting additional information on the comment section. The Sun on Sunday reported that an unidentified man was shot to death in the 1200 block of Ward Street, and then, as usual, didn't give much more information because homicides to the Sun that involve black men are just numbers, streets and, if we are lucky, a name. The readers and the commenters were left with the task of adding whatever information they could muster. Did they get it right ? I don't know but I did appreciate the effort by what you snub "citizen reporters".
I put up a post mentioning that this homicide was in close proximity to another homicide ( a July 2 death that the Sun didn't even bother to report BTW) on Carey Street 2 weeks ago. But since you felt the need to once again delete comments I am unable to read the responses to my comment and all of the other rule-abiding comments. I don't like being at the mercy of your delete button.
Posted by: Cham | July 18, 2011 8:38 AM

Here is my response:

Continue reading "Taking exception to how we report murder" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:57 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: South Baltimore

Pigtown slaying prompts anger

UPDATE: Baltimore Police have now identified the man killed Sunday i Pigtown. He is the man identified in the community emails: Rasheed Abdullah

The Sunday morning killing of a man in Pigtown has stirred plenty of anger on the email circuit. Residents in South Baltimore's Pigtown neighborhood are fuming that a the victim, who they allege is a drug dealer, couldn't be put away.

I've been criticized recently for failing to note the criminal past of people whose names appear in this space, and so I'll go halfway until we can report out further. Here is what Baltimore police have told us thus far:

Baltimore Police are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred Sunday morning in south Baltimore. At 5:51am, officers were called to the 1200 block of Ward Street for a report of a shooting. When officers arrived, they found a 21 year old man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his body. The victim died from his injuries at the scene. 

Detectives are currently canvassing the neighborhood in an attempt to locate witnesses. Anyone with information is urged to contact Baltimore Police Homicide Detectives at 410-396-2100.

As of this morning, police have not released the victim's name. Of course, people in the community have identified him as a drug dealer they were trying to evict, and they criticize prosecutors for failing to follow through.

I ran the man's name and indeed came up with a string of arrests, but only two convictions for possessing drugs. Other charges linked to alleged drug distribution and guns were not pursued by prosecutors. Yes, we will try to determine why those cases were not handled in differently. But at this moment, before the courts even open, I cannot yet pull files. We will call prosecutors and the community law center and see what happened here.

Here are some emails circulating in Pigtown. I've deleted the man's name until we get official verification from law enforcement: 

Continue reading "Pigtown slaying prompts anger" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:00 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: South Baltimore

July 11, 2011

Three slain, five more shot in Sunday violence in city

Baltimore police had another bloody Sunday to contend with, as detectives investigate three slayings and five nonfatal shootings.

The violence raged from one end of the city to another -- with four assaults reported between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Sunday. Read full details here. A brief recap:

* 17-year-old shot several times at 10:42 p.m. in the 1300 block of Luzerne St. Two others were injured in the incident.

* Man shot in the chest near Greenmount Cemetery at 2:20 p.m.

* A 43-year-old woman was found dead about 11 a.m. with head trauma inside her home in the 200 block of N. Belnord Ave. 

* A 46-year-old man died after he was stabbed in the stomach in the 1700 block of Gorsuch Ave. about 2:30 a.m.

* A 22-year-old man wa shot in the abdomen about 2:30 a.m. inthe 1500 block of Lester Morton Court.

* A man walked into a South Baltimore hospital about 2:40 a.m. after being shot inthe 4100 block of Pascal AVe.

* A man was shot int he leg about 2 a.m. in the 3800 block of 8th St. in Brooklyn

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:26 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: East Baltimore, North Baltimore, South Baltimore

July 8, 2011

Police reports from two recent home invasions

Below are two police reports from recent home invasions in South and North Baltimore involving suspects who officials say were impersonating police. In a previous blog post, commenters said they wanted more information, and I'm finally getting around to getting these scanned in and posted.

In the South Baltimore attack, one of the suspects is reported to have yelled, "Don't [mess] with us, because we are crooked Baltimore City police." In both instances, it appears that the suspects broke down the door, and in at least one used an object to bust it open.

The reports are after the jump:

Continue reading "Police reports from two recent home invasions" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: North Baltimore, South Baltimore

July 5, 2011

Third home invasion by fake police

For the third time in a week, city police are investigating a home invasion in which men identifying themselves as police rushed into a home and bound and robbed its occupants.

“We are enormously concerned about this,” said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. “This is an egregious violation of the trust that individuals place in police, and we are working very hard to catch them.”

At about 6 a.m., police were called to the 2800 block of W. Garrison Ave. in North Baltimore, where the homeowners said they were sleeping when three men dressed in “police-like clothing” entered the room and placed them in plastic “flex cuff” handcuffs, officials said.

The men took an undisclosed amount of cash and electronics, including a video game system, before fleeing.

The incident comes on the heels of a similar home invasion last Monday, when a 32-year-old man was shot when three suspects pretending to be police entered his home in the 1500 block of Medford Road in Northeast Baltimore and bound him and his wife with flex cuffs.

Continue reading "Third home invasion by fake police" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:14 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: North Baltimore, Northeast Baltimore, South Baltimore

July 1, 2011

Another home invasion with attackers posing as cops

A man and woman were bound by three men who identified themselves as police officers after breaking into their South Baltimore home early Friday, The Sun's Jessica Anderson reports.

The couple was sleeping in their home in the 1600 block of Elkins Lane when, at about 3:45 a.m., they heard noises downstairs and found three men, who identified themselves as officers and implied they had a gun, said police spokesman Det. Jeremy Silbert. The men were not wearing anything that identified them as police, Silbert said.

After binding the couple, the men searched the home and left with a cellphone, and possibly more items, before fleeing, Silbert said.

He said police are investigating the possibility that Friday's home invasion is related to one that occurred early Monday morning, in which a 32-year-old man was shot. Three men, who also identified themselves as police, kicked in the door of a home in the 1500 block of Medford Rd., in the Ednor-Gardens Lakeside community, and bound a man and his wife with plastic "flex cuff" handcuffs.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:52 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: South Baltimore

June 27, 2011

Gun owner says weapon that killed child not securely locked

The owner of a gun used by an 11-year-old boy to accidentally fatally shoot his 15-year-old playmate in South Baltimore on Saturday was kept inside a room, in a case, unloaded, but unlocked, according to the owner.

The owner, a retired correctional officer, told The Sun's Steve Kilar that it was the only one of his 22 weapons left unsecured. (Photo at left by The Sun's Gabe Dinsmoor). Police have not filed charges against an adult, and won't file any against the child. But a police spokesman said that the improper storage of firearms inside the apartment in Cherry Hill led to this tragedy.

Here is part of Steve's interview with the gun owner: 

Continue reading "Gun owner says weapon that killed child not securely locked" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 5:35 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

Weekend shootings in city

UPDATE: The violence from the weekend continued into Monday -- the body of a woman who was fatally stabbed was found early today near Patterson Park, and a man was shot in the head in North Baltimore.  

In case you missed it over the weekend, several people fell victim to gunfire in Baltimore this weekend, in addition to the 15-year-old who was accidentally shot by an 11-year-old boy.

Map city homicides here.

Here is a list of weekend shootings from Baltimore police:


Continue reading "Weekend shootings in city" »

June 26, 2011

Boy, 15, dead after gun accident

Baltimore police have identified the teenage victim of a fatal shooting which occurred after a sleepover in Cherry Hill Saturday morning.

Michael Brooks, 15, was shot and killed by an unidentified 11-year-old who was apparently playing with a gun, police said. Police could not say how many times Brooks was shot or who owned the gun. The gun was secured in the house, but the children had found a key or passcode to unlock it, said police spokesman Kevin Brown. As of Sunday morning, no charges have been filed against the shooter or any adults who may have been present, Brown said.

"We want this to serve as a reminder of the extreme importance of securing weapons in the home," Brown said.

Read more here.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:03 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

June 16, 2011

Forget Dog Bites Man -- try Rat Bites Cop

Every Baltimore resident has a rat story.

Marc J. Camarote, a Baltimore police sergeant, has a tale for the tabloids.

Early Wednesday, the 15-year veteran was riding shotgun in an unmarked cruiser, speeding down Hanover Street to a robbery call in South Baltimore. He felt something on the back of his neck, and thinking his partner was playing a joke, he took a swipe with his arm.

That's when he discovered a large rodent had crawled up his back.

The rat bit the palm and thumb of Camarote's right hand. The two struggled, and the sergeant was finally able to throw the rat out of cruiser and onto the southbound lanes of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Bridge.

His partner rushed to nearby Harbor Hospital, and they were told they needed to go back and find the rat, to have it tested for rabies. They returned to the scene of the crime, and according to a well-placed police source, found the suspected rat limping along Hanover Street.

A struggle ensued, the police source said, but in the end, Baltimore's Finest won the battle. A cop beat the rat to death with an umbrella. Must not have been carrying his Espantoon.

Continue reading "Forget Dog Bites Man -- try Rat Bites Cop" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:51 PM | | Comments (30)
Categories: South Baltimore

June 13, 2011

City cop going to Harvard

He's trading his gun for a Havard Law book.

Adam Braskich wants to become a lawyer. And this three-year veteran of the Baltimore Police force has gotten into one of the nation's most prestigious universities, Harvard Law School. And when he's done, he promises to return to the city's crime fight -- as a prosecutor.

"I realized fairly early on that I'd probably make a better prosecutor than a police officer," he told The Sun's Justin Fenton, who caught up with the 26-year-old guarding a body in a sweltering South Baltmore rowhouse. "I'm better at spotting logical faillacies than guns concealed in waistbands."

Well, he's pretty good spotting guns too.

While on a study break for his law school entrance exam, Braskich took a stroll around Hampden and stumbled on an armed robbery. He shot one of the suspects and chased down the other. He's one of 466 officers, out of 2,947, who hold four-year degrees. He's pictured here in photo by The Sun's Amy Davis.

Read more about Braskich here

June 2, 2011

About that historic low in homicides in May...

That near-record low in homicides in Baltimore for May wasn't what it seemed, as police failed to disclose two homicides late in the month - including one case in which they even made an arrest.

The two victims are:

-Anthony Sherman, 27, of the 2600 block of E. Hoffman St., was shot in the head just after midnight on May 25th in the 1600 block of Ward Ct. in East Baltimore. He was found lying on the sidewalk and taken to a local hospital, where he was not expected to survive. Police spokesman Kevin Brown said Sherman died the next day, May 26.

-Kevin Jones, 57, of the 2700 block of Maryland Ave., was stabbed in the chest at 10:50 a.m. May 26 in the 1200 block of W. Ostend St. in Pigtown. Jones was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died at about 5 p.m. that day.

Police arrested Corey Arnell Crosby, a 40-year-old man, on May 27. Brown said the motive was an argument. The murder arrest was the fourth time Crosby has been arrested this year; now, he is being held without bond on the murder charges.

Attempts to learn more about the victims were not immediately successful. Court records show Jones in August received a 15 year prison sentence for drug distribution, but the entire sentence was suspended except for time served.

The killings are two more than police had previously disclosed, though the revised 15 killings for the month is still the first time the city has recorded less than 20 in the month of May since 1998 and only the second time since 1989.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:10 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: East Baltimore, South Baltimore

June 1, 2011

Baltimore Guide blotter - May 25 - "You can thank Chris"

Excerpts from this week's Baltimore Guide police blotter for South and Southeast Baltimore (For more, click here):

-S. Collington Avenue, 300 block, May 20, 9:50 p.m. A man told police that a second man whom he did not know entered his home through an unlocked door, pulled a handgun and told the man, “You know what I want and you can thank Chris.” The suspect took oxycodone and $250 cash, then walked out

-S. East Avenue, 1100 block, May 16, 9:10 a.m. The Department of Transportation reported that someone had taken a boot off a car and driven away with it.

-1000 block Light St., Friday, May 20, 10:58 p.m.: A bar security guard was bitten by a 22-year-old patron who had stolen a purse from the bar.

Continue reading "Baltimore Guide blotter - May 25 - "You can thank Chris"" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:56 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Best of the Blotter, South Baltimore, Southeast Baltimore

May 19, 2011

19-year-old fatally shot in Brooklyn

[This post has been updated]

A 19-year-old South Baltimore high school student was fatally shot Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn, the second city homicide over a 12-hour period and fourth shooting since Wednesday night.

Marcus Nickens Jr., a senior at the Southside Academy in Cherry Hill who quarterbacked the football team, was shot multiple times just after 1 p.m. at 10th Street and Stoll Place, in the area of the Brooklyn Homes housing project, and died a short time later.

Police did not immediately confirm the victim’s name, but remembrances were being posted on social networking sites. The picture at right is from Nickens' Facebook page. A source said the school’s principal informed students over the intercom system.

City schools are in High School Assessment testing this week, and seniors have half-days. The school had planned to have an awards ceremony tomorrow morning, but instead will have an assembly with grief counselors on hand, the source said.

Details about the shooting were not immediately available.

Police also identified two recent victims:


Continue reading "19-year-old fatally shot in Brooklyn" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:34 PM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore

Two arrested in failed firebombing in S. Baltimore

Two men have been arrested and charged in a failed firebombing at a South Baltimore home where a 2-month-old boy was among the seven occupants, police said.

Officers responded to the 500 block of Baltic Ave. in Brooklyn at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, where the victims said they heard knocking at their back door and observed two suspects armed with a knife and a club. They called 911, and the suspects fled. 

A short time later, they said the suspects returned and threw a Molotov cockail at the house, which struck a rear first-floor window but failed to ignite the accelerant. Police were led to a vacant home in the 500 block of Arsan Ave., where they took the suspects into custody.

Charged were Christopher Ashbrook, 22, and William Foxwell, 40. They face charges of first-degree arson, malicious burning, possession of a destructive device, and reckless endangerment. Ashbrook, who faced attempted arson charges that were dropped last year, was being held without bond, while Foxwell was being held on $1 million bail

Police said seven people, including a 2-year-old boy and a 2-month-old boy, were inside the home at the time of the incident. It was not immediately clear what sparked the dispute.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:19 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: South Baltimore

May 17, 2011

City police search for scammer

Statement from Baltimore Police:

Please find attached the composite rendering of the individual sought for questioning as it relates to a series of Confidence Scams targeting the elderly community in and around the Federal Hill area on 28th of April 2011.

Victims receive a phone call from a “Social Security Representative” who states that they have been overpaid on their Social Security checks and must make a minimum payment of restitution immediately or they will be cutoff from their benefits.

The above unknown person then shows up at the victim’s home to take said payment. The above person also is known to impersonate a BGE Bill Collector using the same type of scam. We are asking anyone who may have seen this person or are the victim of this scam please call the Baltimore City Police - Check & Fraud Unit at (410) 396-2400.
Description:  Male-White, 50-years old, 6-ft tall, thick build, pronounced belly.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:34 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: South Baltimore

May 12, 2011

Ring stolen from Camden Yards museum

Over the past 30 years, two items had been stolen from the Babe Ruth and Sports Legends museums, and both were recovered.

Officials at the Camden Yards museum are hoping for similar luck after a ring was swiped last week from a display case, part of a collection of items honoring legendary amateur coach and Orioles scout Walter Youse.

"We've provided all the information the police have asked for, and we're hopeful that it will turn up something here. Ultimately, the most important thing is the recovery of the ring," said Michael Gibbons, executive director of the museum.

[Photo courtesy Sports Legends Museum]

The stolen item is a championship ring for the 1996 All-American Amateur Baseball Association, presented to Youse by the local team's sponsor, according to curator Shawn M. Henne. Gibbons said it was on loan from family of Youse, who died in 2002. Officials have not been able to contact family, and are concerned that a week has gone by with seemingly no breaks in the investigation.

It was last seen on May 4 during a tour, and was reported missing when a custodian noticed it was not in its case on the afternoon of May 5.

Gibbons noted that two prior thefts from the Babe Ruth Museum led to the recovery of the items. In 1995, a baseball signed by some of the game's all-time greats - called the "Matchless Ball" because of its uniqueness - was stolen from its secure perch at the Babe Ruth Museum and later recovered under equally baffling circumstances when an anonymous tipster directed officials to a brown paper bag containing the ball. The ball was valued at between 500,000 and $1.5 million at the time.

A decade earlier, a trophy commemorating the Orioles' 1894 National League championship season and the 1944 International League champion was swiped and later recovered, Gibbons said.

In the theft of the Youse ring, Gibbons said the item was contained in a heavy glass case that was not easily accessible. Museum officials have since conducted a security review and were satisfied that other items are "totally secure." But he said the notion that someone would take a priceless item from the museum was distressing.

"It just gets you so upset," Gibbons said.

Anyone with information can call the Southern District police station at 410-396-2499.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:33 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Downtown, South Baltimore

May 11, 2011

Fatal shooting downtown; three injured in Westport

[This post has been updated]

One man was killed in a downtown Baltimore shooting early Wednesday, and three others were injured in an earlier drive-by shooting in the Westport neighborhood, police said.

The killing broke a streak of nearly 12 days without a homicide in Baltimore, one of the longest such stretches in years, according to records.

The downtown shooting occurred about 2:30 a.m. in the 100 block of N. Eutaw St., near Lexington Market. Officers responding to the scene found a 1978 Buick on the sidewalk near a Metro stop in the 400 block of W. Lexington St., with a man in the driver's seat suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, said Detective Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

Investigators believe the man was shot on Eutaw Street — where shell casings were recovered — then traveled north until coming to a rest against a fence. The man's identity had not been confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon, Moses said.

In the earlier incident, reported about 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, police were called to the 2300 block of Sidney Ave., in Baltimore's Westport neighborhood, where they found a 21-year-old man, a 19-year-old man and a 20-year-old man suffering from gunshot wounds.

Continue reading "Fatal shooting downtown; three injured in Westport" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:32 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Downtown, South Baltimore

May 5, 2011

Baltimore Guide blotter - May 5

A sampling of crimes in Southeast Baltimore from the Guide's weekly blotter of crimes in South and Southeast Baltimore, which you can read in full here:

800 block W. Barre St., Tuesday, April 26, 10:30 p.m.: A woman struck another woman in the head with a picture frame and an ashtray, then tried to cut her with a knife. A warrant has been obtained for the assailant’s arrest.

Thames Street, 1000 block, April 23, 11 p.m. A man told police that a woman had approached him as he was leaving a party and said, “Can I walk with you? I’m afraid I might get beat up.” They left the party together, and someone struck the man on the head, and the woman directed the suspect to take the man’s wallet and cell phone. They fled with this property.

Pratt Street, 1800 block, April 28, 12:45 a.m. A man told police he had parked his car when a man approached him, threatened him with a gun and said, “Give me your bags,” then robbed him of cameras, property belonging to his business, his cell phone and keys.

E. Baltimore Avenue, 2300 block, April 26, 1:25 p.m. A man told police he had been out walking when three teenaged boys pulled a knife and robbed him of his bicycle. All three were arrested.

E. Lombard Street, 4000 block, April 25, 2:02 a.m. A man told police he was inside a club and someone had hit him in the head with a glass bottle.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:14 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Best of the Blotter, South Baltimore, Southeast Baltimore

May 4, 2011

City students hold peace event

Students at Digital Harbor High School want to make a change in Baltimore.

Melissa McDonald's freshman English class spent months researching the causes of violence and discussing solutions, and on Wednesday morning held a peace summit called "Let Us Make a Change" attended by guests that included schools CEO Andres Alonso, State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein, and their peers.

"Our solutions may not be the best, but we know from our experiences that they will help," said student Doneshia Duppins.

Among their proposals: anger management, tutoring, summer sports leagues and - a trip to Six Flags. Hey, it's worth a shot. They filmed "public service announcements" to make their case.

"You can expand who you are by expanding what you know," one student said in a video pitch for expanded tutoring programs.

At one point in the assembly, Philip J. Leaf, of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, asked those in the auditorium to stand up if they had lost a relative or friend to violence. More than a quarter of the students stood up.

Continue reading "City students hold peace event" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:25 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Schools, South Baltimore

April 29, 2011

Police warn of scam artists targeting South Baltimore

Baltimore police are warning residents to be wary of scam artists pretending to be with BGE and with the Social Security Administration who authorities say have bilked at least two people out of money.

In one incident on April 19, police said a 78-year-old woman from South Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood reported giving a man $1,000. The man had knocked on her door and told her she needed to come up with $1,900 to avoid having her electricity cut off, according to a police report.

"She advised that despite knowing she had paid her bill, she stated she was scared of having her service turned off," the police report says.

In another case, on April 26, police said a 69-year-old woman in the Riverside neighborhood gave $500 to a man who claimed she owed money to social security. He warned that her benefits would be cut off and demanded $1,000. Police said she gave him all she had -- $500.

The police report states the man then demanded even more -- $3,200 -- and instructed her to send money to an address in Aberdeen.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:08 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

April 27, 2011

Man killed in South Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood

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Baltimore police are investigating a shooting death of a man Tuesday night in South Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood. Few details are known but police said the shooting occurred about 10:20 p.m. in the 3600 block of 5th St.

City police are still investigating the shooting death Monday of a man in West Baltimore. It occurred on Bentalou Avenue, near West North Avenue. These shootings come after a particularly violent weekend.


Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:42 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: South Baltimore

April 15, 2011

Man gets reward for tips in animal abuse case

A man who saw kids beating a young puppy last year on the Carroll Park golf course has been given a $3,000 reward for helping police. Robert Widerman's tips help prosecute three juvenile offenders.

Two 10-year-old boys and a 13-year-old boy were arrested in the May attack in which they tied up a young pit bull, beat it with a belt and pelted it with rocks. The attack came as a City Hall Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force concluded its yearlong look at animal cruelty in Baltimore.

Widerman got his reward from the task force, the Snyder Foundation for Animals and the city's animal control office. He was among several golfers who witnessed the attack and tried to save the dog, which later died.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:45 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: City Hall, Confronting crime, South Baltimore

April 13, 2011

Man charged in robbery, killing in Brooklyn

City police say they have arrested and charged a 22-year-old man in the stabbing death of a 43-year-old in Brooklyn that occurred late Sunday.

Police say Eric Monroe Phillips, of the 5000 block of Brookwood Rd, approached the victim, Antonio Miranda, in the 3800 block of S. Hanover St. just before midnight and attempted to rob him. Phillips is accused of hitting Miranda with a blunt object, then stabbing him multiple times. Phillips is charged with murder and robbery, among other charges, and was being held without bail. 

It took police a few days to identify Miranda, who does not appear to have a criminal record, and police said the case was solved through "community intelligence."

Phillips has pending theft charges in Anne Arundel County from January, and in August 2009 pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary there, receiving 18 months in prison with all but six months suspended.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:55 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore

April 11, 2011

Police shoot man in South Baltimore

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Police say a man who stole a handgun from a bank security guard at Cross Street in Federal Hill was shot by police several blocks south after pulling the weapon on officers, a city police spokesman said.

Anthony Guglielmi, the police department's chief spokesman, said preliminarily that it did not appear that the man attempted to rob the bank. He took the guard's gun and tried to carjack a woman, but was unsuccessful. Guglielmi said the man fled south, discarding clothing, but was chased by citizens who were calling police and relaying his location. He was eventually located in the 1800 block of Light St., west of Riverside Park in South Baltimore. 

"We received tremendous help from the community," Guglielmi told reporters at the scene. "We have them to thank for his capture. He was shedding clothing, trying to change his appearance, and people kept telling us, ‘He went this way, he’s wearing that.’”"

There, Guglielmi said the man pulled the handgun and was shot by officers multiple times. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was reported to be conscious and breathing.

Taking a jog through Federal Hill, Lisa Morabito was in front of the bank when she saw the suspect bolt out the front door. The silver handgun glimmered in the sun. She said a male security officer exited next, saying, “He took her gun!” Morabito said she saw the suspect dart into the Cross Street Market.

“It took me a couple seconds to process it,” said Morabito, a Sykesville resident who was on a break from her job at a nearby animal shelter.

Justin Winn, 27, a subcontractor with BGE, was working in an alley between off Barney St. and was taking a break when he saw a man come out of a convenience store on the southeast corner of Barney and Light.

“I saw the guy come out of the market. He turned around and pulled out what looked like a gun. Two police officers came up and unloaded on him," Winn said.

Continue reading "Police shoot man in South Baltimore" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:56 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Police shootings, South Baltimore

Overnight killings push total up 13 percent over last year

Two men were killed overnight in separate attacks in South and East Baltimore, police said.

The slayings pushed the number of people killed to 52, statistics show – 13 percent more than at this time last year, when the city went on to record its lowest murder rate in two decades. The increase appears fueled in part by a jump in the number of fatal stabbings, with 12 people killed in stabbings compared with six at this time last year, according to statistics maintained by The Sun.

In the first incident, an unidentified man died early Monday of injuries suffered during an attack Sunday night in Baltimore’s Brooklyn neighborhood, police said.

Continue reading "Overnight killings push total up 13 percent over last year" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: East Baltimore, South Baltimore

April 10, 2011

Man who stole identity of dead man deported

When we last left John Robert Skelton last year, he had just been charged with purloining the identity of a dead aide to a U.S. senator. The story was that he met someone while visiting America and didn't want to return to Great Britain.

Now, we learn that the suspect has confessed and pleaded guilty, though his attorney says he really wanted to stay here because he was diagnosed with HIV and the treatment offered in American hospitals could not be found in the mid-1990s in Britain.

His story seems to have won over federal prosecutors and the judge. He pleaded guilty to making a false claim of citizenship, and was sentenced to the three days he had served in jail when he was arrested. He was immediately deported.

Read more details of this story here.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:32 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: South Baltimore

April 8, 2011

Baltimore police investigate overnight shootings

Three people were shot in Baltimore Thursday night and early today. All the victims survived their wounds.

The shooting occurred between 6:25 p.m. and 2:25 a.m. and were in three different parts of the city -- south, east and northeast. In two cases, the victims got themselves to a hospital before police arrived at the scenes.

Thus far, 48 people have been killed in Baltimore, five more than the 43 slain at this time last year. Here are details on the latest violence from Detective Kevin Brown, a police spokesman:

Continue reading "Baltimore police investigate overnight shootings" »

April 1, 2011

Girl, 14, abducted, sexually assaulted in Brooklyn

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Baltimore police are investigating an abduction and sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in Brooklyn that occurred Thursday afternoon.

The girl was walking in the 600 block of E. Garrett St. when she was approached by a man who asked if she wanted to “make some money,” police said. When she declined, he pulled out a gun and ordered her to get into his car.

Police say she was then driven a few blocks away to the 600 block of Washburn Ave., where she was sexually assaulted. Police are looking for a black male, between ages 20 and 30, with a thin build, short hair and side burns. He was driving a dark-colored, four-door vehicle, police said.

Anyone with information was advised to call 911.
Posted by Justin Fenton at 6:02 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

March 30, 2011

Man critically wounded in Pigtown shooting

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Police are the scene of a serious shooting in a business parking lot in the 700 block of Washington Blvd., in Pigtown and not far from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said a 31-year-old man was in the parking lot of a dollar store when two suspects got into an altercation with him that escalated to a shooting. The victim was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma with “extremely serious injuries,” Guglielmi said.

“It does not appear that it was a random attack of a store customer,” Guglielmi said.

He said the suspects fled in an SUV and police were checking security camera in the area.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:30 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: South Baltimore

Baltimore Guide police blotter - March 30

Some samplings from the Baltimore Guide's weekly police blotter, which you can find each week here for South Baltimore and here for Southeast Baltimore:

1200 block Light St., Sunday, March 20, 3 a.m.: Someone broke the door lock on a bar, entered, and stole beer.

1600 block W. Pratt St., Sunday, March 27, 11:56 p.m.: A man told police that he was in his car when people began beating on the car with bats and rocks. The man crashed his car trying to escape, and one of the suspects pulled him out of the car and stole money from his pants pockets.

N. Patterson Park Avenue, 100 block, March 23, 7 p.m. A hair salon owner told police that three teens had broken into her workplace, pointed a gun at herself and customers and demanded money. They fled with cash, phones and a handbag.

Continue reading "Baltimore Guide police blotter - March 30" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:51 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Best of the Blotter, South Baltimore, Southeast Baltimore

March 26, 2011

Charges filed in South Baltimore stand-off

A 20-year-old man has been charged with handgun possession and false imprisonment in connection with Friday's stand-off in Cherry Hill in which police said a woman was held against her will by her boyfriend.

The 31-year-old victim was released after a few hours, when the suspect, Deonte Walker (mugshot at left), surrendered to police outside the house in the 2700 block of Berea Road.

Police said in a report released today that Walker pointed a .40 caliber Springfield Armory handgun at the girlfriend.

A city school school was put in lock-down during the morning barricade.

The report says the suspect and his girlfriend had argued about him getting a job, and that during the stand-off the suspect stacked boxes against the front door to block police from entering.



Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

March 25, 2011

Police at standoff in Cherry Hill; school locked down

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UPDATE: Police say the standoff is over -- the 31-year-old female has been released and the 20-year-old man is in custody. According to family members of the woman who spoke with The Sun, she called and urged them to come get her. "I heard, 'Get down on the floor,' and the phone went dead," the woman's mother said. As police set up a crime scene several blocks away, her family sat in an SUV with the woman's children less than a block away from the hostage scene, watching officers set up around the house. Police say a semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the suspect, who has not been identified because he has not yet been charged.

Continue reading "Police at standoff in Cherry Hill; school locked down" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:34 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore

March 24, 2011

Guide blotter: business owners fight back

The Baltimore Guide's police blotter for South and Southeast Baltimore often contains perhaps unintentional themes. This week in the Southeast, business owners fight back:

Fell Street, 900 block, March 13, 1:14 a.m. Police reported to a bar in response to a robbery, and an employee told them that a man who had been drinking in the bar had gone to use the bathroom during last call, and upon re-emerging, pulled a gun on the employee and said, “Give me the money; I’m not f-—ing kidding.” The employee took money from the register and the man demanded more. Bar employees tackled him and the man wiggled out of his jacket and fled after a struggle. The money was left in the pocket.

Fleet Street, 2000 block, March 13, 5:59 a.m. A man entered a convenience store and grabbed money from the register, then fled after unsuccessfully trying to convince an employee to open the safe.

Eastern Avenue, 3500 block, March 13, 2:59 p.m. Police responded to the report of an attempted robbery at a mattress store and arrested a suspect. It was revealed the man had entered and demanded money. An employee beat the man with a table leg and kept him cornered until officers arrived.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 6:13 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Best of the Blotter, South Baltimore, Southeast Baltimore

March 20, 2011

More victims as violent weekend comes to close

View Weekend violence in a larger map

[UPDATE: 11:05 p.m. - Police and fire officials are tweeting that there have been three shootings in Northwest Baltimore. They have been added to this map.]

City police are reporting at least two additional homicide victims from what quickly became a bloody weekend, with 18 people reported injured or killed since Friday afternoon:

-Darshewn Freeman, 44, was found bleeding in the rear of the 1200 block of W. Ostend St. in Pigtown at about 9:40 p.m., and police said he was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died the next morning around 9 a.m. A cause of death was not immediately known and pending an autopsy. 

-David McLaughlin Jr., 24, also died after being stabbed in the 4500 block of Edmondson Ave., at the Edmondson Village Shopping Center. Police said he was at a gas station when he was jumped by several individuals. He was stabbed several times and taken to St. Agnes Hospital, then Maryland Shock Trauma, where he died at about 5 a.m. Police believe McLaughlin, who according to court records has prior drug convictions, may have been targeted. 

Beginning Friday afternoon, the city saw a police-involved shooting that injured an officer and left the suspect critically injured; at least three homicides - McLaughlin, Freeman and Angelo Fitzgerald, who was shot in Bolton Hill; and a slew of non-fatal shootings. There was also the tragic death of 4-year-old Tyeshawn Townsend, who found a loaded gun in a Northwest Baltimore home and shot himself in the face. Police will be briefing the media on the incidents on Monday morning at a news conference at headquarters.

March 12, 2011

Police commissioner greets young lacrosse players

The cameras were on but the lacrosse stick-carrying-teens engulfing the city’s police chief were reluctant to smile. A coach urged them to loosen up a bit, but their game faces were on.

“This is lacrosse,” Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III reminded the crowd gathered next to the Johnny Unitas statue at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. “You’re either going to smile or act real tough.”

In the end, everyone smiled as Bealefeld draped his arm around the middle and high school students who are part of a growing lacrosse league that partners with Baltimore police officers throughout the city.

The Parks & People Foundation’s Baltimore Middle School Lacrosse League is expanding this year from six to 10 teams and the commissioner wants 30 teams competing. It’s a jump from just a few years ago when Bealefeld began the project mentoring a single team at Calverton Middle School.

For more on the program:

Continue reading "Police commissioner greets young lacrosse players" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:00 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: South Baltimore, Top brass

Teen critically injured in dirt-bike crash; several people shot in unrelated incidents

A teen-ager is clinging to life at Maryland Shock Trauma after getting into an accident in South Baltmore. And police are reporting several shootings. Here is a briefing from city police spokesman Det. Kevin Brown:

3/11/11 - 16:15 Hrs
2200 Blk McHenry Street
At the above date, time and location preliminary investigation revealed that a 15 year-old operator of a dirtbike failed to stop at a stop sign and as a result struck a truck within the intersection (400 Blk S. Smallwood). He was transported to Shock Trauma with life-threatening injuries in critical condition.

For more details on the shootings:

Continue reading "Teen critically injured in dirt-bike crash; several people shot in unrelated incidents" »

March 7, 2011

The criminal history of Ellerson Carter

Police have charged Ellerson Carter, 55, with second-degree murder and related charges in the killing of George Marshall, a landscaping wholesaler who police say was run over when he tried to stop Carter from breaking into a vehicle on his South Baltimore warehouse property. 

Not surprisingly, Carter has a long record of similar incidents, with a slew of criminal convictions for theft, burglary and car theft dating back to the late 1980s and is currently on probation. None of them turned deadly like Saturday's incident, however.  

Here's a snapshot of his record from available online court records:

Continue reading "The criminal history of Ellerson Carter" »

March 6, 2011

Garden industry recalls hit-and-run victim

Friends recalled garden supply wholesaler and Catonsville resident George Marshall as a hard-working business owner who spent the last three decades selling his line of clay and gazed containers to Mid-Atlantic patio and landscaping businesses, The Sun's Jacques Kelly reported.

Marshall, 57, died Saturday afternoon at his Southwest Baltimore warehouse when he was hit by a truck that police said was driven by a man trying to steal goods from the landscaping business. Also injured in the incident was his brother, Jack Marshall, 59, who is expected to recover, city police spokesman Det. Jeremy Silbert said.

Continue reading "Garden industry recalls hit-and-run victim" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 8:48 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

Arrest in warehouse worker's death

Police said they have made an arrest in the hit-and-run killing of a warehouse worker struck as the suspect attempted to flee a car break-in attempt. Detectives have charged Ellison Carter, 55, of the 2200 block of Annapolis Road, with murder, various assault charges, and burglary. 

The victim was identified as George Marshall, 57. We'll have more on this story later today. 

Carter's recent criminal record includes drug, theft and car theft arrests. In 2004, he pleaded guilty and received three years in prison for an unauthorized removal of a vehicle charge. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 9:16 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

A gun range a the Ritz-Carlton?

Here's a new one for us. Somone who lives in a penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton overlooking the Inner Harbor appears interested in building a single-lane indoor firing range. Immediate attention focused on the most famous resident of the Key Highway luxury condos -- author Tom Clancy.

We couldn't confirm it's him, though a local architect has been hired by a design company in New York who wouldn't divulge the name of the client. And Clancy does own a string of six condos on the penthouse level of one of the buildings, giving him 17,000 square feet of living space.

City officials are racing to see if such a thing is possible under various zoning laws, and we won't even discuss how the local condo board will react. And of course the story has generated more than a couple dozen comments since it appeared on line Friday, with many people wondering why somone needs an indoor firing range when all of Baltimore seems to qualify.

Read the complete story.


Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:11 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: South Baltimore

February 9, 2011

Last of three defendants in racial attack sentenced

The Sun's Nick Madigan is reporting that the last of three defendants convicted in a racial attack on a fisherman in a South Baltimore park has been sentenced to 85 years in prison. But the judge suspended all but 10 years of the time.

Zachary D. Watson, 19, pleaded guilty armed carjacking, robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit assault and committing a hate crime to avoid a trial. Madigan wrote:

Baltimore Circuit Judge Lynn K. Stewart sternly warned Watson that she will make sure he serves all 75 years of the sentence if he commits any offenses during a five-year probationary period after his release. "I'll be around a long time," the judge said, "so when he finishes I'll be right here."

The attack on James Privott, who was 76 at the time, in Fort Armistead Park drew national attention when it became clear from police reports that his assailants had used racial invective during the incident. Privott, who was beaten with a hammer, punched and kicked in the assault on Aug. 18, 2009, told detectives later that, as far as he could tell, the attack was perpetrated by three men, later identified by police as Watson and his friends Calvin E. Lockner, 29, and Emmanuel Miller, 17.
In Watson's account to police after his arrest, he said that he and Miller had been standing some 20 feet away while Lockner, alone, pummeled the fisherman. Lockner, a self-professed white supremacist with an avowed admiration for Nazis and Adolf Hitler, was sentenced in September to 31 years in prison for his role in the attack.

February 4, 2011

Home invasion goes bad; armed robbers come up short looking for drugs, money

A 24-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for breaking into a house in South Baltimore's Westport community in what police described as a home-invasion robbery to rob a drug dealer.

But all the suspect got was $250 in cash from a woman's purse.

Robert "Seatle" Jones, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to breaking into the house on April 17, 2010, with two other men. One of the gunmen confronted a woman and demanded to know where the drugs and money were hidden.

The woman told them she didn't know, according to prosecutors, and the gunmen forced her downstairs. The gunmen also found a baby in a room and took the child downstairs as well, holding both at gunpoint.

When the men couldn't find drugs or money, they left through a window, and one of them dropped his gun on the way out. 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:06 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

January 24, 2011

Cherry Hill residents rally against violence

Carrying signs and bundled in down coats, about three dozen people marched through Cherry Hill on Monday evening, demanding an end to the violence that has left four people shot — two fatally — in less than a week, The Sun's Julie Scharper reports.

They gathered at the corner where a former high school basketball star was gunned down while in a friend's car and marched a few blocks to the spot where a football coach was shot while his wife strapped their toddler into a car seat.

"They were breathing air. They had a life. And now they're gone," said Janell Thomas, an organizer with the nonprofit violence-prevention group Safe Streets. "We have to stop letting guns take over our communities."

Safe Streets workers organized the rally to unite the community against violence, program director Cathy McClain said.

"We don't want this to be routine," she said. Organizers said the spate of fatal shootings is extremely rare for Cherry Hill.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:29 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

January 23, 2011

Youth football coach killed in Cherry Hill

A 29-year-old youth football coach was killed Saturday afternoon after being shot in the stomach in the 400 block of Swale Ave., a few blocks from the Southern District police station. 

Police declined to identify him, citing the need to notify relatives, but family and friends confirmed his identity as Harry Hicks. A man and a woman who identified themselves as his aunt and uncle declined to comment further.

Kareem Abdul-Aziz, who coached with Hicks in the Maryland American Youth Football Conference, said the news spread quickly in the Cherry Hill community.

"He truly is going to be missed. It's a close-knit community. They are definitely grieving," he said.


Continue reading "Youth football coach killed in Cherry Hill" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:32 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: South Baltimore

January 19, 2011

The rest of the week in crime

As we've lamented in this space before, we miss retired Sun scribe Dick Irwin and the police blotter, but the Baltimore Guide is doing its part to pick up the slack. Here's some excerpts from this week's edition for South and Southeast Baltimore:

"No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" Department:

Belnord Avenue, 400 block, January 16, 8:30 p.m. A man told police that he pulled over to stop a fight between two men he did not know. The men turned on him and hit him in the chest. The man got back in his car to drive away, then later discovered he had been stabbed and went to a local hospital for treatment.
Mt. Pleasant Avenue, 3400 block, January 14, 11:45 p.m. A man told police that his wife and another woman had gotten into a fight. He tried to separate the two women when a third man struck him on the head with a beer bottle, then fled. The wife refused to make a report, but the suspect was arrested later.

"Guide Blotter reporter Jacqueline Watts Correctly Calls you a Lowlife" Department:

Beale Court, 200 block, January 16, 7:30 a.m. Someone broke into a home through a front door and took a TV, two phones, DVDs and a player. The same lowlife also took the elderly resident’s wheelchair."

Continue reading "The rest of the week in crime" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:53 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Best of the Blotter, South Baltimore, Southeast Baltimore

January 11, 2011

Authorities find more drugs on Baltimore cruise ship

Just a few weeks ago, three Royal Caribbean cruise ship employees were charged with trying to smuggle cocaine and heroin into Baltimore. That got authorities interested, and after another inspection on Saturday, the feds found more drugs aboard the same boat (photo at left provided by U.S. law enforcement authorities).

This time, U.S. Customs officials said about $94,000 in drugs was found in a locker of the luxury liner Enchantment of the Seas.

"If we already encountered an incident where drugs were discovered on the ship, we're more than likely going to take another look at the vessel further down the road," said Steve Sapp, a spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The drugs found Saturday were sniffed out by a dog trained to detect narcotics, and were found hidden in a room accessible to any of the ship's hundreds of employees, said Sapp. No arrests have been made in connection with the latest find.

"It could be just about anybody," Sapp said. "It would be really difficult for us to bring in everyone for an interview."
Posted by Peter Hermann at 5:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

Recap of recent murder victims

The high-profile killing of a city police officer and a 22-year-old clubgoer, along with the disappearance of a 16-year-old honors student and fatal shooting of an autistic man who was the brother of a city police officer, have dominated the headlines to start the year. 

Here's a recap of some of the other victims, whose identities were provided by police today:

Continue reading "Recap of recent murder victims" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:59 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Northeast Baltimore, South Baltimore, West Baltimore

Slain officer Torbit was on-duty

Since early Sunday, the Sun has written two in-depth accounts of the fatal shooting outside a night club near downtown, but one point seems to be unclear, not only among readers but also some reporters and politicians: Officer William H. Torbit Jr. (seen at right) was on-duty when he responded to help quell the unruly crowd outside of Select Lounge. 

In the summer, the shooting of a Marine by an off-duty officer in Mount Vernon raised questions about whether officers should carry their weapons while consuming alcohol. That is not the case in this shooting - Torbit, a plainclothes officer assigned to the Central District, responded to a distress call from an officer already at the club trying to handle the crowd. His badge was either not visible or ripped off during the melee, according to the account pieced together by sources, police, and witnesses.

That point seems lost among many readers, who posted comments and e-mailed us wanting to know what Torbit's blood alcohol content was and wanting to revisit the off-duty weapon policy.

Sun reporter Jill Rosen sought comment on the shooting from councilmembers Monday, and City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young seemed to think Torbit was working security at the bar:

“With secondary employment, we need to make sure our officers know where officers are at all times — who they are and where they are,” Young said. “Somebody should have recognized him. We should at least be able to identify our own.”

Young said that the police department might consider having officers with second jobs wear something that would identify them as police.

“How can you identify another police officer unless they’re wearing something that says police?” he asked. “I feel this is something we probably could have avoided.”

Not only was Torbit not working secondary employment at Select Lounge, city police officers have been prohibited from moonlighting as bar security for more than two years, when Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III issued a ban. Instead, in key areas such as Power Plant Live and Federal Hill, police have pooled money from businesses to pay uniformed officers to work overtime at the direction of police commanders - not bar owners.

Union president Robert F. Cherry says the union and police commanders have crafted a proposal that would allow officers to resume working second jobs at bars, but he says the proposal has been sitting on Bealefeld's desk for months without a response.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:29 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: City Hall, Downtown, Police shootings, South Baltimore

January 6, 2011

Police seize more guns

The pace of slayings in Baltimore has slowed -- three to begin the year but nothing in the past few days. But police have kept up their relentless campaign to get guns off city streets.

Since last night, police have announced gun arrests in three parts of the city, starting in the Western where detectives with the Violent Crime Impact Section, targeting one of the more violent corridors in the city, made eight arrests Wednesday night and seized a .32 caliber handgun. The busts came while searching a house in the 700 block of North Fulton Ave.

In North Baltimore, police arrested two people and recovered a .40 caliber handgun from the 4000 block of Hamilton Ave. Detectives with a gang unit led the investigation.

Again in the Western, patrol officers stopped a car in the 200 block of North Carey St., arrested two people and seized a .38 caliber handgun.

And in South Baltimore, police raided a house in the 1600 block of Cedox St, arrested one person and seized a 20-gauge shotgun. 

January 5, 2011

Parking court humor

I spent the morning in traffic court on Patapsco Avenue. It's a relaxed atmosphere -- I watched the judge poll the spectators on a case last month, much like a game show -- but the bailiff still has to warn people to adhere to proper courtroom decorum.

No hats on men. No cell phones in hand. No talking.

That doesn't mean no jokes. And before the judge -- Catherine Curran O'Malley -- took over the bench, the bailiff told a little story to break the ice.

He recalled that years ago when he was a police officer, he got pulled over for speeding in North Carolina. "For going 10 mph over the speed limit," he exclaimed.

The North Carolina cop asked where the bailiff was a cop, and he replied Maryland. "He gave me a ticket anyway," the bailiff said.

The cop told him he was planning to visit Maryland soon. Said the bailiff: "You're going to be the first person I see when you cross over the Maryland state line."

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:33 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

January 2, 2011

Year begins with two killings

No more time for navel-gazing on 2010's crime declines - the first day of the year brought two killings, including one juvenile. Another juvenile was also shot and wounded.

In the Curtis Bay stabbing that left a 21-year-old man dead:

Officers found two men lying near Fairhaven Avenue with lacerations to their torsos. Detective Donny Moses said Saturday night that the stabbing arose from a dispute between two houses.

In McElderry Park:

A second man was killed Saturday, just before 5 p.m. in East Baltimore. Moses said officers were called to the 500 block of N. Lakewood Ave. where a 16-year-old was found with multiple gunshot wounds.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:28 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: East Baltimore, South Baltimore

December 16, 2010

Two home invasions reported overnight in city

One man was shot, another assaulted during two separate home invasions Wednesday night, a city police spokesman said.

Northeast District officers were called to the 3900 block of Yolando Road just after 6 p.m. for reports of a home invasion where they found a 28-year-old man shot in the chest, police spokesman Det. Donny Moses said. The victim was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he is in serious condition, he said.

A second, unrelated home invasion occurred about 8 p.m. in the 1400 block of McHenry St. in the Southern District, where a man was struck in the head with a handgun, Moses said. The incident was first reported as a shooting because the gun fired when the victim was hit, Moses said. The man was taken to an area hospital for injuries not considered life-threatening.
Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:45 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Northeast Baltimore, South Baltimore

December 13, 2010

Thieves commandeer pharmaceutical delivery truck, abduct driver

[This is a breaking news update. The original post is after the jump]

A pharmaceutical delivery driver was abducted while making his rounds in West Baltimore on Monday morning by thieves who made off with a truckload of drug products, police said.

Police called the morning heist “incredibly thought-out,” and were looking for three suspects. The robbery occurred at about 9 a.m. in the 2000 block of W. Pratt St., outside the tiny Westside Pharmacy and Wellness Center.

The 55-year-old driver was forced at gunpoint into the back of his delivery truck and transported to an unknown location where the suspects unloaded about 80 crates of drug products. He called police from the 2000 block of Annapolis Rd. in Westport at about 10:10 a.m.

“The value of the drugs is significant,” said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, who said he could not place a dollar figure. “We believe the individuals responsible might have had knowledge about where and when the truck was going to be.”

Guglielmi said police were in contact with the local FBI and DEA.

At the pharmacy, located along a struggling commercial corridor in West Baltimore, a handwritten, neon yellow sign tells customers when the store will be closed, and a flier for a lost dog is in the door. The inside resembles a hardware store, and the service counter is located in the back.

A manager who declined to give his name said he didn’t know what had happened until detectives visited the store later in the day. He said the driver drops off supplies every weekday morning but that he did not know his name.

“This is the first time we’ve had something like this happen in eight years,” he said. “We’re just happy he was not harmed.”

Police did not give out a description of the suspects.

Continue reading "Thieves commandeer pharmaceutical delivery truck, abduct driver" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:15 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore, West Baltimore

November 18, 2010

Baltimore Guide police blotter

$37.41 worth of ice cream treats stolen from a 7-11. Someone walks into a bar, takes $400, and slips out. A man beats up his girlfriend and steals her cell phone and methadone. A neighbor tries to scare off men burglarizing a nearby house.

These aren't the kind of crimes that make the daily headlines, but once had a place in the Baltimore Sun's police blotter. That features has regrettably gone by the wayside with the departure of longtime night reporter Dick Irwin, who retired recently from The Sun, but the blotter lives on - at least in South and Southeast Baltimore - in the Baltimore Guide, which is still compiling a weekly blotter of those just-missed-the-news incidents from the neighborhood.

Here are some examples from this week's Guide blotter, compiled by Jacqueline Watts:

Continue reading "Baltimore Guide police blotter" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 6:09 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: South Baltimore, Southeast Baltimore

November 11, 2010

Stabbing, shooting in Baltimore

The Baltimore Police Department just released this statement about two overnight violent crimes:

11/10/10 - Approx. 18:60Hrs
4100 Blk of Amos Ave.
At approximately 18:55hrs officers responded to an area hospital for a cutting call for service.  Upon arrival they spoke to the victim, an adult black male (9/17/85) who advised he had been stabbed after an altercation over a debt incurred after a football game wager.  Investigation continues, to include cultivation of suspects. At last check the victim was in stable condition.  
11/11/10 - Approx. 0100Hrs
1200 Blk of Ward St. (Outside)
On the above date and time officers responded to the location for a shooting call for service.  Upon arrival they discovered the victim, an adult black male (11/3/88), who advised that he was driving through the location and as he stopped he exchanged words with a male standing in the block.  As he (the victim) exited his vehicle the unknown male pulled out a gun and fired, striking the victim twice (right hand and right leg). Victim was transported to an area hospital and is in stable condition at last check. At present, no suspects or motive.  
The homicide numbers are as follows:
2010 YTD: 191
2009 YTD: 193

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:23 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Confronting crime, South Baltimore, West Baltimore

November 9, 2010

Baltimore police make pot bust

Baltimore police announced that its Violent Crime Impact Section, working with federal authorities, busted a suspected marijuana growing center in the 4800 block of Curtis Avenue in South Baltimore.

A police spokesman said officers seized "over 400 'starter' marijuana plants and assorted growing paraphernalia, as the site was a large-scale marijuana growing operation.

The suspects were identified as Jesse Duffy (left), 29, of Severn, and Vincent Davis (right), 30, of South Baltimore.

Here is the report:


Continue reading "Baltimore police make pot bust" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:37 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore

November 8, 2010

Locust Point city's safest community?

Jamie Smith Hopkins over at the Real Estate Wonk blog has put up a post on a group that named South Baltimore's Locust Point the safest large neighborhood in the city.

She wants to know if people agree (weigh in here).

Locust Point, a neighborhood with deep blue-collar roots (see map here), has a location alongside Baltimore's waterfront that has brought it high-end residential development in recent years.

WalletPop, which relied on NeighborhoodScout for the data and analysis, says it ranked the safest neighborhood of at least 1,000 people in each of the nation's largest cities. Those neighborhoods tended to be either wealthy or "more modest income neighborhoods with many tightly-knit working class families."

The chances of becoming a crime victim in a year of living in Locust Point are 1 in 84, better odds than in 70 percent of U.S. neighborhoods, WalletPop said.

I know one thing going for Locust Point is that it's located on a peninsula and there is only one major road in and out -- Fort Avenue. Residents believe that keeps outside criminal agitators out, because it's too easy to for them to become trapped.

This year, a Locust Point man was killed. His body was found in a shallow grave in Patapsco Valley State Park in Anne Arundel County. One of the suspect's was from neighboring South Baltimore.

That was the neighborhood's only murder thus far this year (police determined the victim was killed by blunt force trauma at a Locust Point residence). See the Baltimore Sun's homicide map for more details.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:30 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Neighborhoods, South Baltimore

November 5, 2010

Man beaten at Westport light rail dies; police name other recent victims

City police said a 44-year-old man who was beaten last month at a light rail stop has died from his injuries, while the agency released the identities of several recent homicide victims.

Police said that on Oct. 22, Winslow Thomas walked to a home in the 2200 block of Sidney Ave. and said he had been assaulted at the Westport light rail station in the 2200 block of Kloman St. He was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma center where he was treated for cuts and blunt force injuries and was pronounced dead Wednesday at 9:15 p.m.

Three recent victims of killings this week were also identified.

Police said Jerry Harden, 21, was the man found inside a burning home in the 7000 block of McClean Blvd. in Northeast Baltimore. Harden had been stabbed in the chest prior to the fire being set, an autopsy determined.

Harden is the second person killed this year at the apartment complex, which is near Parkville. Darius Ray, a 20-year-old Marine, was stabbed at a party there in January. A 30-year-old man was also fatally shot nearby in July.

Kevin Anderson, 30, was the man found dead on a sidewalk in the 200 block of S. Woodyear St. just before 3 a.m. Thursday. He was shot in the back and died at shock trauma. The incident happened in the Mt. Clare neighborhood and occurred in the department's Southern District.

Police also identified Malcolm Hill, 53, as the man found shot to death on the front porch of a home in the 2500 block of Robb St. of the Coldstream Homestead Montebello neighborhood where he lived. Police did not provide motives or descriptions of suspects for any of the killings.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 6:31 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Northeast Baltimore, Schools, South Baltimore

November 4, 2010

New plan to combat city vacants

Baltimore's mayor has unveiled a new plan to more quickly deal with the thousands of vacant houses that pockmark the city's landscape, such as at left in this picture by The Sun's Jed Kirschbaum shortly after a fire ravaged a string of vacants in West Baltimore. The houses not only spread blight, but attract crime, and as we recently saw in West Baltimore, can feed the flames of fire consuming entire city blocks.

The Sun's Julie Scharper wrote:

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she would accelerate redevelopment of Baltimore's more than 30,000 vacant properties by cutting bureaucracy and speeding the sales of city-owned properties.

"Vacant houses are more than just an eyesore," Rawlings-Blake said at a Wednesday morning news conference. "Just ask someone who lives next door to one."

Vacant properties constitute one of the city's most pernicious problems, depressing home values and blighting the landscape. Officials have counted 16,000 unoccupied buildings, which harbor vagrants, attract vermin and pose fire hazards. The city owns 10,000 of the vacant properties, on 4,000 of which sit empty structures.

Last month, The Sun's Jessica Anderson brought us to Calhoun Street, where two simultaneous four-alarm arson fires on Sept. 8 destroyed two sides of a city block and taxed the Baltimore Fire Department to the point it needed unprecedented help from neighboring counties. Fire trucks from as far away as Washington responded.

The mayor's plan was already in the words when the fires broke out, but they served as yet another reminder of one of Baltimore's most persistent urban ills, and one that stands out to anyone who drives through these areas.

Here are the mayor's prepared remarks on her plan for vacant houses:

Continue reading "New plan to combat city vacants" »

November 1, 2010

At least two dead after crash with stolen vehicle

UPDATE: Police now say all three victims died, while the suspect was on probation for a theft charge in Baltimore County. Here is the updated story

Two men were killed and a woman was left in critical condition after their vehicle was struck by a stolen car at W. Ostend and S. Hanover streets late Sunday night, according to Baltimore Police.

Two men stole a Lincoln Town Car and were driving at a high speed on W. Ostend Street when it struck a Ford as it crossed Hanover at 11:35 p.m., according to Baltimore Police. The Ford had three occupants: two men who died and a woman, police said.

An officer in a police vehicle pursued and apprehended two men as they tried to flee from the Lincoln, according to police. The identities of the two men have not been released by police.

A reader posted this account of the crash scene in the comments section of the story:

I heard the crash and ran outside to what look like a war zone! Debris was everywhere! It was horrific...the cars parked along Hanover were damaged, one truck was pushed up onto the curb. The men and woman were laying outside the vehicle...a neighbor performed CPR on the woman, as she was, at the time, the only one showing some life.

I saw the cops chasing the men, one ran up my alley and the other tried to get away running up Hanover. We were lucky to have so many patrol men and women on duty last night as they were able to apprehend those men fairly easily.

I will never forget what I saw last was truly horrible!

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:51 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: South Baltimore

October 25, 2010

Third indictment in Locust Point killing

City prosecutors today announced a third arrest in the killing of a man in Locust Point, whose body was later found in a shallow grave in Anne Arundel County.

A grand jury indicted Jeremy Michael Smith, 24, of the 1500 block of Covington St., on charges of accessory after the fact in the killing of Matthew Martin, 31, who went missing on April 9. Fishermen fishing at the Patapsco State Park discovered his body. Two men, Christopher Calvert and Kevin Skipper, were indicted on July 1 in the murder.

Prosecutors said that Smith picked up Calvert at a house on Fort Avenue and went to a Lowe's hardware store to purchase a large plastic storage container that they used to take Martin's body out of the house on Richardson St. in Locust Point. Smith allegedly helped Calvert dispose of the body, prosecutors said.

Records show Smith was first charged and detained in early October, and the indictment kicks the case up to Circuit Court. Smith is being held on $500,000 bond. An arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 17.

Court records show that Smith is on probation stemming from a guilty plea to a third-degree sex offense charge last May. He received five years in prison with all but a few days of that sentence suspended.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:34 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: South Baltimore

October 19, 2010

Ringleader pleads guilty in pawn shop scheme

The head of a scheme to launder $20 million of stolen goods through Baltimore pawn shops pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday. This case involved a series of raids and 14 defendants at pawns shops in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

The case shed light on how stolen property moves from house break-in to sale item and just how lucrative a business it is. Here are some details from the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office:

Continue reading "Ringleader pleads guilty in pawn shop scheme" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:35 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Courts and the justice system, South Baltimore

October 15, 2010

Arrest in Westport killing

In today's paper, we updated a previous item noting the arrest of Trebor Woodard, 34, who was being sought in the killing of 22-year-old Kirk Carter.

Charging documents don't offer any additional insight into the crime, but describe a grisly scene. Medics who were called to the home had to force their way inside and found a large amount of blood on the living room walls and ceiling, and throughout the dining room and kitchen. Carter was lying on the floor by the backdoor, dead from gunshot and stab wounds to his head and upper body. Detectives wrote in charging documents that witnesses led them to Woodard, who they identified as the person responsible for Carter's death. No motive is given.

On Facebook, a friend of Carter wrote "kirk was a GREAT person to know... and he was getting himself together, which is what makes this soo hard for me to understand. He had a new job for a few weeks/months and has been going to church and make'n god a big part of his life." .

Here's a tribute video posted on YouTube, offering a human side to the stories that often get only a brief mention in the media. 


Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:21 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

October 12, 2010

Man sought in Westport killing

Baltimore detectives are asking for help locating Trebor Woodard, a 34-year-old that police say is wanted for the Oct. 6 murder of Kirk Carter, 22, in the 2300 block of Sidney Ave.

Here's what we know about Carter's death: Police received a call for assistance at 11:42 a.m. and found a man inside a home suffering from gunshot and stab wounds. Police spokesman Donny Moses said there was a large amount of blood leading from the upstairs of the home to the kitchen; it was unclear whether someone discovered the man or whether he dialed 911 himself. A motive for the killing has not been made public.

Anyone with information about Woodard's whereabouts is asked to call the Warrant Apprehension Task Force at 410-637-8970, or 911. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous. 

Woodard pleaded guilty in February to one count of assault, receiving four years in prison with all but time served suspended. The case appeared to stem from a 2007 child abuse charge, but the warrant was not served until late 2009 despite multiple arrests in between. On at least three occasions, most recently May, women have sought protective orders against him but failed to appear in court.

He was also convicted on drug conspiracy charges in 1998, receiving three years in prison.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:13 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: South Baltimore

7 killed from Friday through Monday

For those of you trying to keep track, here's a list of violence in Baltimore that started Friday afternoon and went through Monday morning. A full account of the mayhem can be found here. There have now been 171 slayings in the city this year, compared with 176 at this time last year:

Friday, 2:30 p.m.: Sterling Palmer, 78, found fatally stabbed inside his house in the 2600 block of Edison Highway.

Saturday, 12:01 a.m.: Man, 51, found fatally shot in the stomach in the 3100 block of Grantley Ave.

Saturday, 2:19 a.m.: A 42-year-old man reported being shot in the ankle while being robbed in the 300 block of N. High St. at Old Town Mall. He walked into the Central District police station on East Baltimore Street to report his wounds.

Saturday, 8:15 p.m.: Daryll Hood, 22, fatally shot in the head one block from his home in the 4700 block of Shamrock Ave. in Belair-Edison.

Saturday, 8:53 p.m.: Travis Lane, 19, found with bullet wounds to the side and chest in an alley off the 3500 block of N. Calvert St. in Oakenshawe. Police say this shooting is related to the shooting 20 minutes earlier in Belair-Edison. Lane was pronounced dead at Union Memorial Hospital.

Saturday, 11:49 p.m.: James Ingram, 46, found shot multiple times in the 3000 block of Pressbury St. Pronounced dead on the scene.

Sunday, 1:42 a.m.: Dennis Waddell, 33, fatally shot in the 1600 block of Warwick Ave. in Coppin Heights. A 28-year-old was shot and wounded in same incident.

Sunday, 4:47 p.m.: Police find a man in his early 50s dead inside a vacant rowhouse in the 800 block N. Fremont Ave. in Harlem Park. A cause of death has not yet been determined.

Sunday, 6 p.m.: A 35-year-old man was stabbed in the 3800 block of Rogers Ave. in Pimlico. Police said he had been mowing his lawn at his house when a man got out of a car and stabbed him in the chest, arm and back. He was being treated at an area hospital.

Sunday, 9 p.m.: A man shot in the ankle in the 3300 block of Ingleside Ave.

Monday, 9:25 a.m.: An adult male is shot in the head and killed in back of rowhouses in the 2600 block of Shirley Ave. in Park Heights.

Source: Baltimore Police Department

October 11, 2010

Family of crash victim left in dark

On Sunday, Oct. 3, two cars collided at Patapsco Avenue and Potee Street in South Baltimore. One man was thrown from the vehicle and died.

City police, busy preparing for a funeral for an officer who died in a car crash in Pennsylvania, asked the Maryland Transportation Authority police to handle the investigation. As a result, neither agency said anything about the crash to either the media or to the public.

But this is not just a media-feels wrong story. The family of the 19-year-old victim, Andrew Arnold-McCoy of Glen Burnie, didn't get much information either. In fact, officers who notified him of the death did not tell that the driver of the other was an off-duty police officer from Annapolis.

The investigation into the cause of the accident continues -- one of drivers blew a red light -- but the refusal of the authorities, particularly those in the Maryland Transportation Authority, to release even the most basic details is perplexing and has angered the victim's family.

"We are just frustrated," Michael Schearer, McCoy's father, told Sun reporter Jessica Anderson. "It's hard to have closure if you don't know what happened."

We at the Sun learned about the accident from the Annapolis Police Department when they sent out a news release Thursday afternoon saying that one of their officers, James Salyers, had been placed on desk duty because of his involvement in the crash.

Calls to city police were referred to the transportation authority, where a spokesman confirmed the crash but refused to release more details, including the name of the victim which is usually made public after relatives are notified. Sgt. Jonathan Green told Anderson that the name couldn't be released until the investigation was complete.

The victim's father contacted The Sun after seeing a brief story of the accident and saying that he hadn't been told a police officer was involved. He had already buried his son and a death notice had been published. On Saturday, after Green still refused to confirm the identity of the victim, city police released the name.

This delay not only turned what otherwise would've been a small story on the accident into a larger story noting the anger and frustration of the victims' relatives, who were needlessly kept in the dark over a pertinent detail of their son's death, a detail they had to learn from reading the paper instead of being told by police. And the public was needlessly kept in the dark about a fatal car accident involving a police officer.  

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:31 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, South Baltimore, Top brass

Another violent weekend in Baltimore -- 5 dead

Six shooting this weekend left five people dead and three more injured.

Friday, just before midnight: 46-year-old man fatally shot inside a house in the 3000 block of Pressbury St.

Saturday, 12:01 a.m. A 51-year-old man fatally shot in the stomach in the 3100 block of Grantley Ave.

Saturday, early morning: A 33-year-old man was shot and killed on Warwick Avenue in Coppin Heights. A 28-year-old man was shot and injured in the same incident.

Saturday morning: A 42-year-old man said he had been robbed and shot at Old Town Mall. He walked into the Central District police station and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Saturday, 8:15 p.m.: 22-year-old man fatally shot in the head in the 4700 block of Shamrock Ave. in Belair-Edison.

Saturday,  8:53 p.m.: man fatally shot in an alley in the 3500 block of N. Calvert St. in Oakenshawe. Police say this shooting might be related to the one on Shamrock.

Sunday, 9:30 p.m.: man shot in the ankle in the 3300 block of Ingleside Ave. 

On Sunday evening, Baltimore police said a man was stabbed on Rogers Avenue and that he was being treated at a hospital. And Sunday morning in Anne Arundel County, a man was reported shot and wounded in Severn.

October 8, 2010

Drug bust in city

Reported by Jessica Anderson:

Baltimore City Police seized more than 16 ounces of crack cocaine, a 357 magnum handgun and $15,000 in cash from a south Baltimore man’s home Thursday — just days after he had nearly an entire 10-year sentence suspended.

Police said they seized most of the drugs the from Russell Smith’s home in the 2800 block of Hollins Ferry Road. Last month, Smith pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute last drugs and a judge sentenced him to 10 years with all but one day suspended, and three years supervised probation.

Maj. Margaret Barillaro, acting commander of the Southern Police District, said officers under Sgt. Larry Williams had stopped a car when they observed Smith with a small amount of drugs.

"These officers do a great job. It’s about getting the bad guy with guns who disrupt the quality of life for others in Baltimore City,” Barillaro said. “This is a big deal in an area where we’ve had a lot of problems,” she said.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:36 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Baltimore County, Confronting crime, South Baltimore, Top brass

October 6, 2010

Another shooting in Southern; victim from last week ID'd

As police probed a possible robbery in Cherry Hill last night that led to the shooting of two people, one who died, another man was found dead not far away in Westport this morning. Police received a call for assistance at 11:42 a.m. in the 2300 block of Sidney Ave. and found a man inside a home suffering from gunshot and stab wounds. Police spokesman Donny Moses said there was a large amount of blood leading from upstairs of the home to the kitchen; it was unclear whether someone discovered the man or whether he dialed 911 himself. But Moses said he was pronounced dead before noon, and detectives had obtained a search and seizure warrant for the home.

That wasn't the end of the violence today; police sent a Twitter message just before 5:30 saying that a man had been shot in the back on North Morley Street. Details weren't immediately available.

Across the river in Brooklyn, police executed a search and seizure warrant in the 700 block of Pontiac Ave. and seized a shotgun, a rifle, a handgun, and marijuana in an arrest of four people.

Police also identified a woman found stabbed to death in West Baltimore last week. Yassmin Lindo, 36, was found Sept. 28 lying in the street in the 1900 block of McKean Ave in the Mondawmin neighborhood.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 7:08 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

Police crash in Woodlawn; shootings in city

Today opens with news of an accident involving a police car in Baltimore County that shut Security Boulevard and Rolling Road. Authorities say the road could be open by now; no fatalities were reported.

In Baltimore,  a woman was killed and a man injured when a gunman opened fire in the Cherry Hill neighborhood. The double-shooting occurred about 11:45 p.m. on Claflin Court. No arrests have been made.

For a complete look at city homicides, visit the Baltimore Sun's murder map.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:09 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news, South Baltimore

October 5, 2010

City councilman's father missing

[UPDATE: Police said at 6:45 p.m. that Reisinger had been located. Spokesman Donny Moses said he was found "somewhere in the community" but would not release details to protect his privacy. He did note, however, that Reisinger was "providing entertainment to all in his presence."]

Police are asking for help locating the 89-year-old father of City Council Vice President Edward L. Reisinger III. Edward Reisinger Jr. was last seen Oct. 1 at 3 p.m., in the 1600 block of S. Ellamont St. in the Morrell Park area of Southwest Baltimore.

Edward Reisinger III said his father left the house Friday afternoon to take two checks to a neighborhood check-cashing shop.

The elder Reisinger, a retired Sparrows Point steelworker, does not have dementia or Alzheimer’s and often goes on walks, his son said.

“He walks around a lot,” said Reisinger. “He goes and plays pinochle. He sees his girlfriend.”

He did not bring extra clothes, his cell phone or his blood pressure medicine or asthma inhaler with him when he left Friday, his son said.

Reisinger said that the check cashing place confirmed that his father had cashed two checks Friday afternoon.  His father’s girlfriend said she has not seen or heard from him either, he said.

“The worst case scenario is that someone was watching him get the cash,” Reisinger said.  “We’re just praying that he’s ok.”

He is 5’- 8” tall and 190 lbs. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket, blue pants, and black boots.

Anyone with information in reference to the above missing person is asked to call the Missing Persons Unit at 443-984-7385 or 911.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:09 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: South Baltimore

October 2, 2010

Police commissioner joins scouts

As you've seen in previous posts, Baltimore Police Commissioner Frderick H. Bealefeld III joined hundreds of scouts from the Baltimore region as they camped out at Fort McHenry Friday night. They're celebrating 100 years of scouting.

Bealefeld pitched a tent and slept outdoors with Trooper 193 from Baltimore's Thurgood Marshall unit. I posted some pictures in an earlier blog but here are some better shots from the police department's chief spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi. Bealefeld is with Shane McCormick, 16, from Pasadena Troop 870, and Marquise Dunlap, 10, with the Thurgood Marshall troop.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:51 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: South Baltimore, Top brass

October 1, 2010

City police commissioner joins boyscouts on sleepover

{New information added below] This is not the picture I want you to see of Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III.

But we'll have to wait to get a pic of the top cop sleeping under the stars tonight at Fort McHenry. He's joining 6,000 boy scouts who are camping out there. And yes, Bealefeld's chief spokesman assures me the chief will be sleeping out all night. In a sleeping bag. On the grass. Which l presume will still be wet.


Some scouts in one local group expressed interest in police. And Bealefeld's spokesman told me that the commissioner wants to assure the boys that the city is safe and crime is down.

Photo at left is by The Sun's Lloyd Fox

The Police Department just put out a statement with some additional facts. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense (and Eagle Scout) Donald Rumsfeld will be among the guests, along with scout leaders and a service by Cardinal William H. Keeler (also, it turns out, an Eagle Scout). That is scheduled for the event's formal opening ceremonies on Saturday afternoon.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:20 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Confronting crime, South Baltimore, Top brass

September 27, 2010

White supremacist gets 31 years for attacking black fisherman

White supremacist Calvin Lockner, whose nickname is "Hitler," was sentenced this morning to 31 years in prison for attacking a 77-year-old black fisherman at a city park. For more details, read court reporter's Tricia Bishop's story.

The 29-year-old Lockner, a convicted sex offender, did not speak at the hearing but his public defender read a statement into the record in which his client apologized.

The victim, James Privott, described the attack.  Bishop reports:

 "Standing four feet from his attacker, James Privott, 77, outlined the effects of the August 2009 battering, which left him with a fractured eye socket, missing teeth and expensive doctor bills.

"'The situation put my wife and I and my family in a stressful, stressful'" position, Privott said. "'My wife basically had to take over for me… For three weeks I couldn't see.'"

September 22, 2010

White supremacist pleads guilty to beating black fisherman

A man who called himself "Hitler" admitted in Baltimore Circuit Court today to beating a black fisherman at a city park. Here is the start of Sun reporter's Tricia Bishop's story:

Calvin E. Lockner, the self-professed white supremacist who was accused of beating an elderly black fisherman last year then stealing his truck, pleaded guilty to four charges including assault Wednesday, and agreed to a 31-year prison term as part of the deal.

Sentencing is scheduled for Monday morning, to give the victims, including 77-year-old James Privott, who lost two teeth in the South Baltimore attack, a chance to appear. Privott was unavailable Wednesday, according to Baltimore State's Attorney spokesman Joseph Sviatko.
Court documents describe Lockner as a registered sex offender who molested a little girl and raped a woman. He goes by the nickname "Hitler" and has a tattoo of the Nazi leader across his abdomen. After his arrest, he told police the attack "wouldn't have happened if [Privott] was a white man."
Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:52 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Courts and the justice system, South Baltimore

September 21, 2010

Five shot in new round of city violence

Baltimore police are continuing to investigate two multiple shootings that occurred Monday night -- three men shot and wounded in Brooklyn and two others shot in East Baltimore.

One victim was listed in critical condition from the South Baltimore shootings; homicide detectives are investigating the shootings near Greenmount Cemetery but there's been no word on their conditions.

For more details, police reporter Justin Fenton has a fuller account.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:40 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore, South Baltimore

September 2, 2010

City murder charge dropped after man produces alibi

Murder charges filed against a Prince George’s County man were dropped last month by Baltimore prosecutors after the man was able to produce an alibi, officials said.

Baltimore police charged Ronnie Jacobs, 24, of Lanham, with a July 22 double-shooting in the 4200 block of 10th St that killed Curtis Williams. Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said detectives had two witnesses that positively identified Jacobs as the shooter. Williams was the current boyfriend of Jacobs’ ex-girlfriend, Guglielmi said.

But Jacobs was able to prove that he was at work at the time of the incident, officials said, and prosecutors dropped the charges on Aug. 5.

Jacobs still faces a possible violation of the probation he received after ignoring a protective order last year, and records show he is being held on $10,000 bond in connection with that charge.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:38 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Courts and the justice system, South Baltimore

August 29, 2010

Guest goes on "stabbing rampage"

Baltimore police have charged a man with stabbing several guests at a reunion for Walbrook High students this weekend. One man died in the attack at an arena on Annapolis Road in South Baltimore.

But many questions remain -- what the dispute about (something current or something out the past) and whether the dead man, or any of the wounded people were targets or bystanders. Reporters Jessica Anderson and Julie Bykowicz talked with the aren's manager and with the dead man's sister, but didn't learn many details.

Perhaps today or Monday, when police charging documents become available, we'll learn more. Both the suspect and the man who died have extensive criminal records. James L. Dixon, 28, was charged with first-degree murder and several counts of attempted murder in connection with the stabbings.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:05 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore

August 26, 2010

A neighborhood COP walk, then a robbery

The neighborhood Citizen On Patrol walks have become a signature of the Baltimore Police Department's efforts to engage residents in the fight against crime.

One of the most prolific walkers, and most vocal, Stephen C. "Steve" Herlth Sr., sent this e-mail out today recounting an unfortunate incident after a walk in South Baltimore's Morrell Park Wednesday night:

Last night The Southwest District Police Community Relations Council's Citizens on Patrol had just completed their walk in the Community of Morrell Park, my home community. As in most cases, when we come together for a walk, the "Players" in the community see us gather, get on their Cell Phones and alert each other.  For that forty-five minutes or hour, the neighborhood becomes quite, and the players disappear.  Last night was no different.

The walk itself was one of the better ones in Morrell Park for some very unique reason, one of which was we had several residence approach us, gathered and presented information. Others accepted and read the upcoming walk notification.  One resident even join up with us during the walk. This is why I like having the District Commander, Major Anthony Brown and his new Deputy Major Frederick Stewart join us. They both have the natural gift of talking to people in a way that promotes participation.

Well last night, maybe about an hour after our walk, and all of us went home, Southwest responded to an attempted Armed Robbery. Southwest was quick in its response, follow through, and apprehension of the subjects involved, and "Yes" a hand gun was involve that later turned out to be a "B-B" Gun, a "DUMMY GUN".  Which we know, when you're scared to death, if you think the Gun is real, it is!

Now, I am sure that someone out there will find fault somewhere in what the Great Southwest did, or didn't do, they always do, but not from this person. To me, it was a great example how the various efforts of Baltimore City Police responds to it residents needs. I am proud of the men and woman of the Southwest, and I am equally proud of the Command Staff of Major Tony Brown and Deputy Major Frederick Steward.

Great Job last night, guys, great job!

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, South Baltimore

August 19, 2010

Prosecutors want to seize $22k from Pigtown drug suspect

According to federal court papers filed this week, law enforcement officials are trying to seize $22,000 found during a drug raid in Washington Village in March. City police detectives obtained a search and seizure warrant for a home in the 800 block of W. Cross St. and detained Artis McDaniel, 27. A search of the home turned up a half ounce of heroin, one ounce of cocaine, and $22,184 in currency, which federal agents say is proceeds from drug dealing.

Court records show McDaniel was charged at the state level with firearms and drug charges in connection with the March arrest. Those charges were dropped this week, but that appears to be because federal prosecutors agreed to take them. McDaniel was charged in late July in U.S. District Court with possessing drugs and a 9 mm Desert Eagle handgun.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:08 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

August 16, 2010

Police make arrest in 1 weekend homicide

Police have made an arrest in one of the weekend's homicides, charging 21-year-old Dane Shives Jr. with a double-shooting that left one man dead in Brooklyn Saturday. The suspect is pictured here.

Officers were called at about 10:12 p.m. to the 3500 block of Horton Ave., near Garrett Park in Brooklyn for a double-shooting. Andre Graham, 27, was killed in the incident.

Police did not disclose a motive in the crime but charging documents could shed some light later today. 

Shives, of the 1600 block of W. Furnace Branch Rd., has a prior record in Anne Arundel County, where in 2007 he pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and received eight years in prison with all but a year and six months suspended and five years of probation. It was his first and only conviction.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:02 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: South Baltimore

August 9, 2010

Suspect in SW Baltimore beating remains free after victim dies

A 59-year-old Southwest Baltimore man remained free Monday after the man he was arrested and charged for beating with a baseball bat died over the weekend, police said.

Prosecutors have not yet upgraded charges against Walter Wayne Kelly Jr., who was charged last week with attempted first-degree murder in the Aug. 2 beating of 25-year-old Theodore Corwin. Corwin found bleeding from the head and taken to Maryland Shock Trauma center in critical condition, police said.

Continue reading "Suspect in SW Baltimore beating remains free after victim dies" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:24 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: South Baltimore

July 28, 2010

A former Pigtown resident's lament

Just days before the robbery and fatal stabbing of Stephen Pitcairn, Rick Gilbert's story in Pigtown was making waves.

Gilbert was attacked last month outside his home, given two black eyes, a broken nose and disregarded by police officers who were called to the scene. Within weeks, he left Baltimore. His story was told in a YouTube video posted by the Washington Village Development Association and generated some news coverage.  The theme: Drug dealers chase out city resident.

Gilbert e-mailed me today wanting to tell the story in his own words. He says he had a "For Rent" sign in his window for weeks before the attack as he planned a move out west to Portland, Oregon - a decision fueled as much by stalled economic development and community groups that he felt didn't have his best interests as heart as any thump on the head from neighborhood thugs. 

Ten years ago he bought and fixed up a home on West Ostend Street and Washington Boulevard, a young aspiring entrepreneur willing to take a chance and open to mixing with people of different backgrounds and social status. He played football with neighbors and started a skate program for area kids while building a business.

But as rehab projects around him went off track, the quieting of jackhammers amplified the police sirens in the neighborhood and he gradually became disillusioned. To be sure, the June 27 attack and the police response were crucial moments, he says. But he says his story has become colored with the agendas of others.

I'll let Rick tell it himself after the jump in the piece he sent me, edited for length and some content. The first half is about the most recent incident, but with the rest he waxes poetic on his decade as a city resident:

Continue reading "A former Pigtown resident's lament" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:05 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Neighborhoods, South Baltimore

July 26, 2010

Man arrested in drug chase that led to woman's death

Police have charged a 26-year-old with negligent manslaughter after he crashed into a woman’s vehicle while eluding city officers Sunday afternoon, court records show.

According to the court records, Tyrone Hicks, who was being sought on a warrant, struck two officers’ vehicles as he attempted to evade arrest. Police have a policy against high-speed chases, but said that they had received information that Hicks was armed.

Several baggies of marijuana were recovered, but no weapon, according to court records.

The victim was identified in charging documents as Queonna Zophia Edmonds, who police say was from rural South Hill, Va. Attempts to locate family members were unsuccessful, but she appears to have been a 2007 graduate of the University of Virginia and worked a Washington DC theater. It's unclear what brought her to Baltimore.

Continue reading "Man arrested in drug chase that led to woman's death" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:40 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: South Baltimore, West Baltimore

July 22, 2010

Four shootings, two dead before noon

Baltimore police were investigating at least two homicides among four total shootings reported Wednesday morning across the city, officials said.

Investigators were on the scene of a double-shooting in Brooklyn, where a man was fatally shot in the street at about 9:50 a.m.

Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said the man was shot several times in the 4200 block of 10th St. and died on the scene, while a woman who was struck in the leg was taken to a local hospital. The shooting was near the Brooklyn Homes project and not far from an elementary school.

"There were several people outside, but the only description we have was that two males were seen running east from the location," Silbert said.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:40 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Northeast Baltimore, South Baltimore

July 15, 2010

Baltimore man charged with identity theft of the dead

UPDATE: We just learned that the person whose identity was stolen in this case, Kurt Branham, was a legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-Kentucky), who died in 1994. An obituary published in the Washington Post said Branham had worked on legislation that included laws dealing with missing and abused children.

Here's the story:

A British citizen is being held on charges that he obtained a U.S. passort and a Maryland driver’s license in the name of dead man from Washington and tried to use the documents to fly out of BWI Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

John Skelton, 41, was arrested Monday night at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and charged in U.S. District Court with identity theft and using a fraudulently obtained social security number.

Continue reading "Baltimore man charged with identity theft of the dead" »

Bealefeld reassures Southern District residents

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III sought last night to tamp down rumors about the departure of popular Southern District commander Scott Bloodsworth, while assuring that acting major has his confidence and is "in the pilot's seat" to remain there.

The meeting was called last week as rumors swirled that Bloodsworth had been forced out as part of some political scheming fueled by bar owners and a prominent fundraiser who lives in the district. Bealefeld addressed it head on, saying his first communication with the mayor on the topic was after Bloodsworth had decided to leave, and he said that to this day he had not been contacted by two city councilmembers who represent the area.

He said that if bar owners are upset, he was "ignorant" to it. And a Locust Point resident's concerns about crime were noted but hardly the kind of thing to set off political domino effect, he said.

Instead, Bealefeld emphasized how disappointed he was that Bloodsworth opted to leave rather than oversee reforms in the beleaguered sex offense unit, which the commissioner said was in "crisis" and is at that top of his priority list.

"I lost my ace pitcher - and I didn't get another body. He's just off the team. How did that happen?"

Continue reading "Bealefeld reassures Southern District residents" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:09 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore, Top brass

July 14, 2010

Despite rain, shootings continue

UPDATE: Police told me that the shooting mentioned below on MacTavish Avenue was a self-inflicted wound. The victim survived.

Also, police just reported another loaded handgun seizure from the 4800 block of Reisterstown Road. The police made two arrests while serving a location at a residence. 

The heavy rain and storms didn't stop the gunmen Tuesday night. At 9 p.m. in East Baltimore, city police say a man was shot in the lower back in the 1600 block of N. Wolfe St. Another man was shot in the thigh in the same incident.

About 4:30 a.m., and adult male walked into the emergency room at Harbor Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound. City police later determined he had been shot in Glen Burnie, and Anne Arundel County police are handling the investigation. Around the the same time, police responded to the 3600 block of MacTavish Ave., near Violettville Elementary School in Southwest Baltimore, for a man who had been shot. There's no word yet on his condition, but police said homicide detectives are investigating.

Baltimore police do report making an arrest in the shooting that occurred two days ago in the 4200 block of Reisterstown Road. Othnell Carr has been charged in that incident. And earlier Tuesday, police arrested three suspects and seized a loaded handgun in the 700 block of Linnard Street in Southwest Baltimore. 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, Breaking news, South Baltimore

July 12, 2010

Documents show slain Cherry Hill youth leader may have been killed for cooperating with authorities

UPDATE, July 22, 4:30 p.m.: BPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the CityPaper that the original affidavit was filed with false information due to "a miscommunication between police and prosecutors," and adds that Dangerfield "was never an informant for the police." A corrected affidavit has since been filed in court.

Dangerfield, his mother told CityPaper's Van Smith, spoke of being fearful that he'd been labeled a snitch in the weeks before his murder, even though he hadn't helped the police. She says Dangerfield told her of a recent visit by the police to a Cherry Hill house being gutted by Dangerfield and a crew of fellow city workers. The police had asked them for information about anything they'd noticed going on at a house across the street, and Dangerfield and the other workers had no information to offer. Later the same day, the police raided the suspicious house, and she recalls Dangerfield saying that shortly thereafter he was being a called a snitch by people around the neighborhood.

"We thought he was just being paranoid," the mother said, "but he said, 'I know what I'm talking about.'"

When police made an arrest in the killing of Cherry Hill youth leader Angelo Dangerfield, they explained in charging documents a heat-of-moment confrontation: Dangerfield, walking his pit bull Princess, startled two men, who told Dangerfield to keep the dog away from them. Two shots later, Dangerfield was dead.

But documents obtained by the CityPaper and published last week show that police were working off another theory that was never revealed in court records or provided to defense attorneys for Ronald Hall and Michael Robertson, the two men who were charged: that Dangerfield, a 21-year-old who by all accounts was on the right path in life, was killed for information he was passing on to federal authorities about Hall's drug dealing.  All charges have since been dropped against Hall and Robertson, with state prosecutors citing the problem of a single-witness in the case. But federal court records reveal a new angle.

Here's what the murder charging documents said:

Continue reading "Documents show slain Cherry Hill youth leader may have been killed for cooperating with authorities" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:06 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: South Baltimore, Witness intimidation

July 7, 2010

Southern District commander opts to retire

Just days after police announced he would oversee important reforms in the Baltimore police department's sex offense unit, Maj. Scott Bloodsworth has filed retirement papers.

Bloodsworth had been in charge of the city's Southern District since 2008, and his move last week to oversee the special investigations section came at a time when city officials have vowed to change how the department investigates sex crimes. The special investigations section also includes citywide robbery, check and fraud, missing persons and child abuse units.

Bloodsworth, a 24-year veteran, filed his retirement papers Tuesday, his first day in charge of the section.  A district major brings significant responsibility - community members have your cell phone number and aren't afraid to use it all times of the day. With the Federal Hill and Cherry Hill within his boundaries, Bloodsworth's job included dealing with business owners and affluent residents as well as those dealing with persistent drug dealing and violence.

Anthony Guglielmi, the department's chief spokesman, said that Bloodsworth expressed reservations about the new position. Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III offered him his old job in the Southern District back, and asked that he take some time to think about it. But Bloodsworth had his mind made up and wanted to spend more time with his family, Guglielmi said.

Bloodsworth, a Baltimore native, released a statement through the department calling it a "high privilege and honor" to police the streets where he grew up. "As I reflect on my career and obligations as a father I came to the realization that there could be no more opportune time to retire. Leaving the Southern District seemed a logical time to leave the Baltimore City Police Department." 

Guglielmi denied a report that Bloodsworth had been "forced out" of his Southern District post and a suggestion that politics were involved. With the sex offense unit under a microscope, Bealefeld wanted someone he trusted to oversee reforms, Guglielmi said.

"He's a proven leader, and that's why he was chosen," Guglielmi said. "He could restructure that unit and make sure it got the attention it deserved. This has been a problem with the agency for 10 years and past administrations would audit it and let it go back to where it was. We needed someone to systematically change the way we do business."

Continue reading "Southern District commander opts to retire" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:53 PM | | Comments (22)
Categories: South Baltimore

June 28, 2010

New details on weekend shootings

The shooting at the Inner Harbor overshadowed yet another weekend filled with shootings. The Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz gives readers a good summary of some of the shooting since early Saturday:

-- A 23-year-old woman who was four months pregnant and whom police described as a gang member was shot early Saturday morning on Arsan Avenue in Curtis Bay. She lost the baby but is expected to recover from her injuries, police said.

-- About 10 p.m. Saturday, in apparent retaliation for that shooting, an 18-year-old man was shot in the 300 block of nearby Annabel Avenue, police said.

-- A 23-year-old man was shot and killed at 3:30 a.m. Saturday in the 3300 block Noble Avenue in East Baltimore, police said.

-- A triple shooting at 9:40 a.m. Saturday in the 2200 block of Guilford Ave. near city school headquarters left one woman and two men injured, police said. One victim is related to a gang member who was killed earlier this year, leading police to believe the triple shooting was retaliatory.

-- Police discovered the body of a 47-year-old woman in the 5200 block of Charles St. about noon Saturday. Police said it is a possible asphyxiation and appears to be a domestic-violence homicide. Her husband was being sought by police.

-- An argument over an MP3 player, police said, led to a shooting at 10:30 p.m. Saturday in the 2100 block of Patapsco Ave. in South Baltimore. A 30-year-old man was shot twice in the stomach and is expected to survive, police said, adding that they have suspects and were preparing arrest warrants in the case.

-- About midnight Saturday, a 19-year-old was shot in the hand at the Inner Harbor.

-- Early Sunday morning, one man was shot to death in what police said appeared to be a home-invasion robbery of a drug house in the 2600 block of W. Fayette St.

-- Police also were investigating a suspicious the death of a 43-year-old man in the 2800 block of Rockrose Ave. north of Druid Hill Park. His body was found Sunday with an injury to the back of his head.

June 25, 2010

Drug informant killed after name leaks

Witness intimidation is a big problem in Baltimore, and many high-profile cases have been prosecuted -- from the firebombing of a city house that killed an entire family to the murder of a man in Baltimore County who saw a man killed in a city alley.

But the killiing of Kareem Guest in Westport in 2009 sets a new standard. A year earlier, the 39-year-old sat down with FBI agents and outlined drug dealing in the community. As a result, the feds busted eight people. Six pleaded guilty -- the ringleader went to prison for 22 years -- but two others held out for trials.

That meant prosecutors had to give two attorney's copies of Guest's statement to the FBI because was was a potential witness. Federal prosecutors say one of those lawyers gave a copy to his client and to his client's mother, who distributed it throughout Westport.

Guest was killed three months later.

And now a woman authorities saw Guest get shot is refusing to cooperate and lied to a grand jury about seeing the shooting. Prosecutors charged her with perjury. Here is a stunning court document filed by the lead prosecutor arguing that the worman should be incarcerated until her trial. It details this horrific killing and highlights the problems police face in solving many of the city's killings:


Continue reading "Drug informant killed after name leaks" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:23 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Confronting crime, South Baltimore, Witness intimidation

June 23, 2010

Body found in Pigtown rowhouse; May shooting victim dies

A 25-year-old man shot last month in Cherry Hill has died from his injuries, and officers were investigating the discovery of a decomposing body in a vacant Pigtown rowhouse.

Larry Griffin, 25, was walking in the 2900 block of Spelman Road at about 3 p.m. on May 22 when two unknown men drove up in a newer-model Dodge Magnum with tinted windows, chrome rims and a North Carolina tag, police said.

The suspects chased Griffin and began shooting with a semiautomatic handgun, striking him in both legs and his abdomen. When police arrived at the scene, they saw Griffin lying on the ground with a crowd of people gathered around him.

He was listed in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma, where his condition deteriorated, police said. Griffin, of the 900 block of Coppin Ct., was pronounced dead on June 14. The case remains open.

Detectives were also investigating the discovery of a decomposing body Wednesday afternoon inside a vacant rowhouse in the 1200 block of W. Cross St. No additional information was immediately available.

There's been 92 homicides so far this year. Here's how many homicides the city had recorded at the same point in prior years:

2009:  107

2008:  102

2007:  151

2006:  130

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:42 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

June 21, 2010

12 shot in Baltimore over weekend

man was fatally shot in East Baltimore early this morning, adding to a list of gunshot victims that turned city streets into a battle ground this weekend. That and another shooting early today brings the weekend total to 12 shot, three fatally.

The Baltimore Sun's Meredith Cohn wrote:

On one of Baltimore's most violent weekends so far this year, 10 people were shot in incidents across the city, with two confirmed dead. The police have no suspects in any of the shootings, which spanned early Saturday through Sunday morning, and can't say whether any are connected. But spokesman Detective Jeremy Silbert said the department is following leads and speaking to witnesses. "In these areas where the shootings occurred, we'll be increasing patrols," Silbert said.


June 19, 2010

Break-in at Bush's South Baltimore rowhouse

Baltimore police are confirming a break-in at Jenna Bush Hager's rowhouse in South Baltimore.

And an intense search is now for the bikes owned by former President Bush's daughter and her husband that includes officers from the Southern District and detectives assigned to the Regional Auto Theft Task Force.

Police confirmed today that cops responded to the Charles Street rowhouse for a burglar alarm but didn't find anything amiss. The alarm company called the Hager's, who were out of town, and they asked a neighbor to check. That's when they found the bicycles missing from a rear garage. Police then noticed two small pry marks on a back garage door.

Police described one bicycle as a men's black and red Trek Fuel-style worth $2,500 and a female blue Trek worth $1,000. Baltimore Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said nothing else was taken and the burglars did not get into the rowhouse.

The couple had Secret Service protection when the initially moved to the neighborhood. But Guglielmi said the couple, who are now married, no longer have that protection.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:51 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Breaking news, Neighborhoods, South Baltimore

June 17, 2010

Ten-year-olds arrested in puppy beating

Baltimore police have arrested two 10-year-old boys in connection with an attack on a puppy at a city golf course. Another youth has been detained in a separate animal cruelity case.

The Sun's Brent Jones and Jill Rosen (see her pet blog Unleashed) detail the case and give this account:

Police say a witness at the Carroll Park Municipal Golf Course watched the kids beat the puppy with belts and sticks on May 16. The names of the boys were not released. The incident happened about six weeks after police say a 13-year-old boy tied up a pit bull and pelted it with rocks in the 3700 block of Greenspring Ave., in Northwest Baltimore. The teenager was arrested on Tuesday and charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal, a felony. Police say the boy confessed to the beating, and he was transferred to the juvenile detention center.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, South Baltimore

City cops make gun busts

Baltimore police have taken a bunch of guns off city streets this week, bringing the yearly total to 979 illegal weapons and more than 400 arrests.

Here is a look at some of the seizures made since Sunday:

A man at Water and Gay streets, near City Hall and Police Headquarters, was arrested with a loaded handgun on Sunday. That same day, police said they executed a search warrant in the 600 block of Wildwood Parkway in Southwest Baltimore and found a shotgun.

On Tuesday, police arrested a man in the 500 block of N. Ellwood Ave. and charged with illegally possessing a loaded .40 caliber handgun. On Tuesday, cops arrested another man with a loaded handgun, this time in the 3200 block of Tivoly Ave. in Northeast. (less than an hour later, a man was fataly shot several times at North Fulton Avenue and West Lanvale Street in West Baltimore.

Also on Tuesday, police arrested two more people and seized a loaded handgun and drugs at one location and then, at another in the 600 block of East 41st St., they arrested a 37-year-old man carrying a lodaded handgun.

On Wednesday, police arrested a 21-year-old man in the 200 block of N. Monroe St. on a burglary charge. Police said he also was carrying a loaded handgun.

And earlier today, a 17-year-old was reported shot during a fistfight in Northwest Baltimore.


June 7, 2010

Police hunt shooting suspect

Baltimore police are searching for a suspect in a domestic homicide that occurred over the Memorial Day weekend. Here is a statement from police:

On May 30th at approximately 11:00am, Baltimore Police responded to the 2100 block of Ramsey Street in South Baltimore for a serious shooting. Once there, officers located Alvin Martin III (28)suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso. Martin was transported to Shock Trauma where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

A short time later, it was determined that this incident was domestic related, and a suspect was named shortly thereafter. An arrest warrant was then issued for Duane Thompson (36) of the 500 block of Bloom Street. Thompson is a black male who stands approximately 5' 5" tall and weighs approximately 165 lbs. Thompson has not been seen nor heard from since.

Members of our Warrant Apprehension Task Force are now actively looking for Duane Thompson.  They are asking from help from the public. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Duane Thompson or who has seen him recently is asked to call detectives at 410-637-8970.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:27 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore

June 5, 2010

Arrest made in shallow grave killing

Maryland State Police and Baltimore police arrested one man and are seeking another in the killing of a man whose body was found in s shallow grave in Patapsco Valley State Park. The victim had lived in South Baltimore's Locust Point and was the son of a city liquor board inspector.

Here is a statement from state police:

omicide investigators from the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department have arrested one suspect and have an arrest warrant for a second suspect in connection with the death of a Baltimore man who was found buried in a state park last month.

Members of the State Police and Baltimore Police homicide units today arrested Kevin M. Skipper, 30, of the 500-block of E. Fort Avenue, Baltimore.  He is charged with first and second degree murder, first and second degree assault, and two counts of use of a deadly weapon.  Skipper was arrested without incident at his home shortly before 3:00 p.m. today.  He is currently being processed at Central Booking.

For more:

Continue reading "Arrest made in shallow grave killing" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:25 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, South Baltimore

June 1, 2010

Memorial Day killing spree

I just spent more than three hours driving to each of city's nine slayings that occurred between early Saturday morning and early Tuesday -- a spate of killings that is unusual even for a city seemingly swamped in violence.

One killing was a domestic and another involved a man fatally stabbed when he came to help another man in a dispute with a woman. Both of those occurred inside homes. But others were outside, most linked to the city's underworld of crime. Many if not most of the victims had criminal records, and judging by some of the street-corner memorials, some seemed involved in the drug trade.

The trip took 35.6 miles and more than three hours (including time spent stopping for interviews). A full story will be in Crime Scenes later today on line and in tomorrow's print edition. I started with a shooting on North Fulton Ave. (12:43 a.m. today) and ended at Pennington Ave. in Curtis Bay (1 a.m. Saturday).

In one spot, on North Rose Street, a mother put up a sign pleading for help paying for the funeral. At another, a double shooting on Pulaski Street, balloons fluttered in a warm breeze and empty bottles of vodka shared space with votive candles and teddy bears.

Baltimore police have made an arrest in at least one of the domestics -- the stabbing in which the man intervened in the dispute -- and noted the difficulties of policing a city under seige. The double slaying on Pulaski Street, for example, began at an argument during a cookout in which one person got angry over another person's hair being pulled.

At another spot on Loch Raven Boulevard, on quiet residential street of nicely mowed green lawns, just up from Good Samaritan Hospital, there was gang graffiti imbedded in sidewalk concrete. Even in spots where violence doesn't happen, the danger signs are there. Picture is at left.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:15 PM | | Comments (2)

May 31, 2010

City cops probe several shootings; 10 shot, 7 dead over holiday weekend

Update: Police tell me that the two shooting victims from Ramsay Street died. That brings the holiday weekend total to 10 shootings with seven dead. That includes the latest fatal shooting this morning on Loch Raven Boulevard in Northeast Baltimore.

Update 2: Police are reporting that a man was stabbed to death at about 6:15 p.m. Monday in the 4800 block of Truesdale Ave, in the Northeast District's Frankford neighborhood. The three-day death toll is now at eight, the deadliest such stretch of the year. 

Baltimore police are investigating a spate of shooting over this violent holiday weekend, including three that occurred in a brieft span in East Baltimore adnd three others within a few hours and a few blocks in Carrollton Ridge.

Sunday evening, a man was shot and killed on Ramsay Street. A few hours later, two other men were shot (their conditions are not yet known, but homicide detectives were called to the scene). This is the same beleagured neighbhood in which 5-year-old Raven Wyatt was found shot and wounded last year, and the scene of a large community walk with the mayor and police to take back their streets.

The Baltimore Sun's Tricia Bishop just updated that sad tale with news that lawyers for the recently convicted shooter are appealing because they believe prosecutors and a former defense attorney overstated the number of times the suspect had violated his home detention (he was GPS monitoring).

Last year, I walked through the neighborhood twice (once when the mayor came, along with hundreds of angry and concerned residents) and a second time a few weeks later (when hardly anyone showed up).

The Southwestern District's Police Community Relations Council, led by Steve Herlth, is very active with community Citizen on Patrol Walks. And Connie Fowler, the longtime community leader there, has been vocal about violence for years.

May 28, 2010

Baltimore police report on governor's daughter

Gov. Martin O'Malley's 18-year-old daughter was briefly hospitalized Thursday night after she was found unconscious at the Inner Harbor. The Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz reports that Tara O'Malley had been at a house party in Towson, then came downtown to board a boat.

The governor and his wife are calling this a private, family matter. The Sun is reporting that a citizen flagged down a city police officer saying the young woman appeared intoxicated. In a statement, the governor's wife, Katie O'Malley, did not mention drinking but called what happened a "teachable moment."

"We … encourage all parents and teenagers to be safe this graduation season," her statement said.

Here is a copy of the police report:

Continue reading "Baltimore police report on governor's daughter" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:51 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: South Baltimore

May 18, 2010

Another dog attack

Another day, another dog attack.

Baltimore police are searching for three boys between the ages of 10 and 12 who beat a baby pit bull with a tree branch and left it for dead. A maintenance worker at the Carroll Park Golf Course in Southwest Baltimore saw the attack and chased the kids away.

What is troubling about this case is that he called authorities but they were slow to arrive. Police referred him to animal control which responded four hours after his initial call Saturday about 12:30 p.m. But for some reason, the animal control officer didn't remove the dead dog.

The pit bull was still there on Sunday when the worker, Rob Whiderman, returned. He called police again and this time an officer responded. Police found the dog, a red and white striped polo shirt, the tree branch and a cell phone possibly dropped by one of the suspects.

This incident came just a few days after another dog was attacked with a machete in Northwest Baltimore.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:02 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Confronting crime, South Baltimore

May 17, 2010

Body identified as missing Baltimore man

A body found in a shallow grave in Linthicum on Saturday was that of a missing Baltimore man, and state police say his death is being investigated as a homicide. In a news release sent out late Sunday, police confirmed that the body was that of Matthew C. Martin, 31, who was last seen in Locust Point on April 9. Fliers were posted throughout South Baltimore.

State police said an autopsy determined that Martin had been killed, though they did not release the cause of death. That is an investigative technique used to aid detectives, as only the killer or those involved might know the manner in which Martin was killed. 

An emotional letter was posted on Craigslist a few weeks after Martin's disappearance, imploring anyone with information to come forward. Here's an excerpt: 

Continue reading "Body identified as missing Baltimore man" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:10 AM | | Comments (35)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, South Baltimore

May 14, 2010

Child gonorrhea case and the repeat offender wanted for questioning

It's a horrific case and a mystery all rolled into one.

How did an 18-month-old girl contract the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea over the weekend? Was it from a 21-year-old neighbor who might have been alone with the child in her house? Or from someplace else?

The story has lots of angles to it. The parents who brought the sick baby to Harbor Hospital are angry that police haven't yet arrested and charged the man they named as a chief suspect. Police are working carefully (it took until Tuesday for tests to confirm the infant had the disease, and now they want to question the man to see if his story adds up). He's not yet been named a suspect. And detectives are not even sure yet how the girl got gonorrhea in the first place.

But there's another question here. The man being sought has twice in the past three years been convicted of serious crimes -- manslaughter, for which he got 10 year suspended prison sentence -- and dealing drugs -- for which he got a five year prison sentence.

He violated the terms of his probation three times yet each time two different judges balked at more prison time and continued his probation, leaving him free. And the man -- who we're not naming because he not yet been charged in the sex crime -- was parolled after serving just over two years in the drug case.

Another example of soft judges handing out break after break? The Baltimore Police Department's chief spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, certainly thinks so. He called the man a "poster child on how to skirt the system. The state's parole and probation office violated this guy three times and three times he's been given a slap on the wrist."

I couldn't reach either judge on Thursday. But a review of his record might shed some new light on this. The manslaughter conviction stems from an arson fire that court records show were set by the man's three teen-aged friends in 2006. Police made note that this man was with them but did not set the fire that killed a 37-year-old man. He was convicted but not sent to prison.

The drug charge involved cops seeing a hand-to-hand deal and finding a bag full of heroin pills in his pants pocket. You can argue that being paroled after serving less than half your sentence is lenient, but non-violent offenders typically get their first parole hearing after serving a quarter of their sentence. For this type of non-violent offense, parole is pretty standard.

And what about the probation violations? Two were technical, for missing court-ordered drug treatment sessions. The third was for getting arrested on the drug charge, and it appears the judge simply folded that violation in the 5-year drug sentence.

So is this man a poster child? Should he have been on the street? The state has a new program called Violence Prevention Initiative, in which violent offenders are singled out for just these types of technical, minor probation violations to send notice that they are being carefully watched and will go to jail for stepping out of line just a little bit. But this man, given the nature of his offenses, wasn't anywhere near this program, reserved for the worst of the worst.

May 10, 2010

Four dead in weekend violence; man carjacked in AA County and left in city

The weekend saw at least seven shootings in Baltimore, three of them fatal, and news of an arrest in the strangling of a pregnant woman in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello neighborhood.

Police said a white man was shot in the neck and died on the scene in the 500 block of N. Collington Ave. in East Baltimore at about 6 p.m. Saturday. Four hours later, two black men were found dead in a vehicle that had its engine running in the 900 block of North Hill Drive., in the Ednor-Gardens-Lakeside community of Northeast Baltimore. None of those victims had been identified as of this morning and police were not able to provide any new information about the crimes.

An insignificant but odd fact: there was not a single white homicide victim in the city until May 5, a span in which 58 people were killed. The next four city victims were all white: a homeless man found beaten to death in West Baltimore, a man beaten to death outside a Brooklyn bar, a 29-year-old pregnant woman strangled by her boyfriend, and Saturday's victim. The city's total now stands at 64 homicides for the year, compared with 80 at this time last year. That's a drop of 20 percent, but the pace is slowly evening out.

In other news, Anne Arundel County police reported this morning that a 28-year-old man was forced into the trunk of his own vehicle on Saturday in the 800 block of Nursery Road in Linthicum, and driven into Baltimore. The suspect took his wallet and cell phone and drove off in the vehicle, a 1998 gold Chevrolet Cavalier. It was not immediately clear where in the city the man was taken in Baltimore, but police believe the victim and suspect had met as part of a planned meeting and that the motive may have been drug-related.

Continue reading "Four dead in weekend violence; man carjacked in AA County and left in city" »

May 8, 2010

Charges dropped in killing of Cherry Hill youth leader

Baltimore prosecutors on Friday dropped all charges against a 34-year-old man accused of killing a dog's owner because he was afraid of the pit bull.Angelo Dangerfield - Courtesy Dangerfield family

Ronald Edward Hall of the 1100 block of Cherry Hill Road was charged with murder, assault and weapons violations in conjunction with the November murder of 21-year-old Angelo Dangerfield, who was walking his dog "Princess" outside his home on Spelman Road when he was gunned down.

Police were not able to corroborate a witness's account, according to the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office, leading prosecutors to drop the charges against Hall during a preliminary hearing in District Court.

"The police continue to investigate this matter," said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office.


Posted by Justin Fenton at 9:15 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Courts and the justice system, South Baltimore

May 7, 2010

Safe Streets reactivated; alleged gang leader pleads not guilty

A task force appointed to review the operations of a government-funded anti-violence program could not substantiate allegations that the group was taking cues from a powerful gang, but found flaws in the oversight of the Safe Streets program and recommends that control be shifted away from the city. Responding to the report, Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake lifted a funding freeze on the programs. Safe Streets - Photo by Ken Lam

The panel’s report was released the same day an alleged leader of the Black Guerrilla Family, accused of using violence outreach work as a cover for drug-dealing and gang activities, made his first appearance in federal court.

Todd Duncan, 36, pleaded not guilty to heroin conspiracy charges at a brief hearing in US. District Court. Duncan was hired through the Safe Streets process in 2007 when the non-profit Communities Organized to Improve Life was chosen to operate a West Baltimore site. Though the group’s funding was terminated a year later due to non-compliance, COIL continued to perform outreach work independently, officials said.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 8:03 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: City Hall, East Baltimore, Gangs, South Baltimore, West Baltimore

April 23, 2010

Liquor board shuts down Pigtown bar, gives downtown club a reprieve

Bars and clubs continue to be a major focal point for neighborhood concerns, and this week the liquor board gave a reprieve to a downtown club targeted by police and nearby hotels and shut down a Pigtown bar.

Sun reporter Brent Jones said three surrounding hotels led a petition to revoke the license of the Velvet Rope, a club in the 200 block of E. Redwood St. that had been linked to an unruly mob and a shooting. But commissioner Stephan Fogleman said the board wanted to give the club a chance to operate after the licensee negotiated the new security plan with police.

"We're going to give them the requisite time under that contract to perform," Fogleman said. "There'll be penalties, consequences if they breach."

The liquor board was not as patient with Sid's Bar, located in the 1100 block of Washington Blvd. A video shown during a six hour hearing appeared to show the bar owner running through traffic, punching a dog, and mooning people. The bar was also the scene of a shooting in October.  But Fogleman made it clear that the liquor board believed the bar owner specifically - not the establishment or its patrons - were the problem.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:55 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Downtown, South Baltimore

April 21, 2010

UPDATE: No one else facing charges in incident where 8-year-old brought loaded gun to school

A quick update: On March 5, an 8-year-old was arrested after being caught with a loaded handgun at a South Baltimore elementary school. The Sun subsequently reported that schools police had delayed notifying city police of the incident, setting their investigation back by not promptly being able to search the child's home or begin tracing the weapon. The episode revealed mistrusts and misgivings by the department over how the incident was treated.

More than a month later, the child's juvenile charges are moving forward, but school and city police say they were unable to trace the gun and no adults will face criminal charges in connection with the incident. City police said they were only responsible for tracking the gun, and referred additional questions to schools police. A city schools spokeswoman said the schools police had handed off the case to juvenile services and would not be involved in the case until it came to court.

As for what's going on with the juvenile proceedings and any possible social services action, all of that is secret in Maryland.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:31 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Schools, South Baltimore

April 19, 2010

City cop busts man police say tried to abduct girl

A Baltimore police officer Sunday evening tracked down and helped arrest a registered sex offender who authorities said tried to abduct a 15-year-old girl on Washington Boulevard.

Michael Leroy Thomas, 44, was arrested at his Baltimore County home on Dalton Drive in Gwynn Oak after Southwest District Matt Dzambo followed him there and alerted county police. Thomas was charged with assault and faces a bail review hearing later today. Thomas is at left in a picture from the Maryland Sex Offense Registry,

Police said Dzambo was on patrol in the 2500 block of Washington Bld. when about 5:15 p.m. a resident flagged him down and told him a man had just grabbed his daughter, who managed to get away.

Dzambo approached the supsect who got away in a four-door Buick. The officer followed the car and got the license plate number, which was traced to the house in Gwynn Oak. Dzambo and Baltimore County police arrested the suspect at that location.

Police said the teen-aged victim picked Thomas out of a photo lineup. Thomas was convicted of a 4th degree sex offense in 2005 and sentenced to probation.

He was found guilty of failing to report a change of address in 2006, as required by registered sex offenders, and was sentenced to the time he had spent in prison awaiting his trial, which was four months. The Maryland Sex Offense registry lists him as compliant.

Thomas has a string arrests in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, mostly for petty offenses such as urinating in public and trespassing. In 1994, he was convicted of battery sentenced to spend eight months in prison.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:48 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, South Baltimore

Cracking down on drunken bar behavior


Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young wants to impose higher fines to curb rude and obnoxious -- and illegal -- behavior outside of bars. This partly in response to complaints from people in neighborhoods upset by rowdy behavior from drunks in and around bars.

Last summer, city cops were busy with fights, robberies and shootings blamed in part on emptying nightclubs and some gans at the Inner Harbor and further north in Mid-Town Belvedere. Friday night, reporters Justin Fenton and Julie Scharper toured Federal Hill near the 2 a.m. bar closing time and witnessed a fight and one case even got mooned (the video was taken by Justin).

Here is a summary of what the council president plans to introduce at tonight's council meeting:

Increase fines for a variety of misdemeanors including scalping tickets and selling loose cigarettes. People drinking or holding open containers of alcohol in public could be fined as much as $500, 10 times as much as the current penalty. Those found guilty of "disorderly drinking" could be forced to pay as much as $1,000 under the proposal. Lighting up indoors, which was outlawed in 2008, could cost the smoker as much as $500 and the bar owner as much as $750. Adults found urinating or defecating in public places could be fined as much as $1,000 — twice as much as the current fine.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:12 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Confronting crime, Downtown, South Baltimore, Top brass

April 15, 2010

911 calls in pub crawl brawl

The February pub crawl on South Baltimore's Fort Avenue was one of the hottest debated subjects in a while, with people weighing in on the potent mix of alcohol, youthful revelers, intruders into city neighborhoods and gentrification.

Now, we have the 911 tapes from the fights -- the first started at Fort and Charles and the second, which ended with a man stabbed in the back -- was further east at Fort and Covington. The calls include both banter from police, frantic cries from witnesses and a long call from the stabbing victim himself.

Listen to the tapes here.

Here are some more details from today's article:


Continue reading "911 calls in pub crawl brawl" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:28 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Confronting crime, South Baltimore

April 13, 2010

Home invasions on the rise

The Baltimore's Suns police beat reporter Justin Fenton writes today that home invasion robberies are on the rise in Baltimore. There are some great details in the story, including one robbery who wore a skull cap with "superman" written on the side and another who told his victims to "have a nice day" as he left:

Residential robberies were up 34 percent through April 3, compared with same period a year ago. It's the only category of crime on the rise. Homicides, rapes and overall robberies are down by double-digit percentages, according to police.

Police say they can't pinpoint any driving force behind the uptick, and they aren't ready to blame a still-struggling economy or drug activity. The increase is being felt across the city, but most heavily in Northwest Baltimore, which has notched 21 residential robberies compared with eight at this time last year.

Northeast Baltimore has seen the second highest-total, with 19, and the Southern District's total has doubled, to 14 from seven. Unlike a burglary, a residential robbery requires the presence of a victim in the home or business and the taking of property through force or fear. A burglary, also referred to as breaking and entering, does not involve an encounter with the owner and might not even entail theft.

April 11, 2010

Court records: Youth leader killed over pit bull

Court records show that a 21-year-old youth leader fatally shot in November in Cherry Hill was killed because the shooter felt threatened by the victim's pit bull Princess.

Police on Friday arrested Ronald Edward Hall, 33, and charged him in the murder. According to court records obtained by The Sun, police said he and another man, who has not yet been arrested but who police believe pulled the trigger, were upset with Angelo because of his dog:

Police said a witness heard the gunman “yelling at the victim to keep his dog away from him.” Angelo Dangerfield, who was taking the dog for her morning walk, yelled back “that his dog does not bite,” the charging documents say. Police said the witness then heard two shots, saw Dangerfield fall to the ground and watched the gunman tuck a handgun into his waist.

Angelo had no police record, had graduated from high school and was involved in several youth leadership and anti-drug groups.

One of Hall's relatives later contacted The Sun, saying the charges were without merit and that police have been harassing Hall for the past three years. Though it's not clear why, that would be around the time the city and state developed targeted strategies for keeping tabs on known gun offenders.  Here's what the relative had to say:

I'd like to start off by saying that Ronald Hall is an innocent man and the case the police is trying to build against him WILL NOT stand For the past 3 years BCPD has been constantly harassing him, trying to keep him out of the neighborhood in which he grew up/lives in. He is a father to his children and loving family man. He has been stopped while taking his son to school and accused of loitering; again, in the neighborhood he has resided all of his life. This family will fight and support Ronald until these absurd charges against him are dismissed.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:11 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: South Baltimore

April 10, 2010

Arrest made in killing of Cherry Hill youth leader

No details yet, but police announced late Friday an arrest in the November shooting of a Cherry Hill youth leader. Angelo Dangerfield, 21, was shot while walking his pit bull, Princess. Closed circuit cameras captured Dangerfield walking the dog, and by the time the camera panned around he was on the ground, the dog circling his body. The suspect is identified as Ronald Hall, 33.

I spoke with Dangerfield's family at the time. Here's an excerpt from that story:

When Doris Dangerfield saw a body in front of her Cherry Hill home early Wednesday, she called to her 21-year-old son, Angelo, who she believed was in his bedroom sleeping, to have him check things out.

There was no reason to think that it was Angelo lying on the sidewalk. Involved in various youth leadership programs and due at work soon for his apprenticeship with the city housing department, Angelo Dangerfield was a model for his peers, a Southwestern High School graduate always willing to lend a helping hand and determined to better himself.

But after slipping a pair of shoes on, his 55-year-old mother got to the front door just in time to see police rolling over the body of her son, who had been shot in the chest while walking his pit bull, Princess.

"My son didn't have to die," she said Wednesday while choking back tears. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:51 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: South Baltimore

April 7, 2010

Car chase, crash through Riverside

No details yet from police, but there appeared to be a car chase and crash in Riverside this morning. I heard tire squealing and Foxtrot overhead, then went to the intersection of Fort Avenue and Jackson Street, where a large crowd had gathered and a suspect was lying on the sidewalk with a bloody mouth. A Ford Mustang was smashed up, and the suspect vehicle, a gray Volvo, and at least three police cars from the Auto Theft Task Force appeared to have collided in front of Captain Larry's bar and Hilltop carryout. A tweet moments ago from Baltimore Police referred to this as a "traffic accident" and said two officers suffered minor injuries.

This is of course unconfirmed, but people at the scene were saying that a chase had been initiated in "the county," and police had picked up the suspect in the city. We'll update as we learn more.

For some more pictures of this crime scene and others, check out my Twit pic account

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:11 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: South Baltimore

April 1, 2010

Shooting reported in South Baltimore

Police reported a shooting on the Federal Hill/Sharp-Leadenhall border Wednesday night, though it appeared as though the wound may have been self-inflicted. I trudged to the scene, in the 900 block of S. Hanover St., with my trusty crime dog, Sophie. Officers taped off much of the block, and were searching alleys and grassy areas in the next street over, Bevan St. See the attached pic.

An officer said the victim was about 17 or 18 (UPDATE: police say today that he was actually 23), lived in the neighborhood, and was found sitting on a stoop suffering from a gunshot wound to the back of his leg, which he said was an accident. How do you shoot yourself in the back of the leg, you ask? By trying to place a gun in your rear waistband, the officer said. Only one way to verify if the story was legit: was there a bullet hole in his pants or not?

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:25 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: South Baltimore

March 29, 2010

Two murders in city; other crime in county this weekend

There were two murders in the city this weekend -- the latest Sunday night in West Baltimore when a man was found shot to death in a van in West Baltimore. Late Saturday afternoon, a 16-year-old teen was shot in the body and killed in East Baltimore.

And on Sunday afternoon, two people were shot and wounded in South Baltimore's Cherry Hill neighborhood and police were trying to determine if the incidents were related.

[Note from Justin: One of my colleagues recently told me that we are "trend killers" - that is, when we pick up on a trend and write about it, that trend abruptly ends. Last week in this space, we noted that juvenile deaths were down and the Southern District had only two shootings all year, and what did the weekend bring? The death of a 16-year-old and two shootings in the Southern...]

In Baltimore County, a man was fatally shot at an apartmen complex in Owings Mills. And in Perry Hall, police say a homeowner shot and killed a supsected intruder. The man who broke into the house, according to police, also had a gun.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:21 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Baltimore County, East Baltimore, South Baltimore, West Baltimore

March 26, 2010

Homicide trends in 2010

A few days ago, I talked about improvements to our city homicide map, and today I got to playing around with my database and saw some notable trends for the 37 homicides recorded through March 25. (You can find the map along the right side of this screen)

-First, homicides are down 24 percent.

-For the first 37 victims last year (a number the city hit on March 1), two were female and five were juveniles. There were 31 black victims, four white victims, one Hispanic victim, and one Asian victim.

-This year, there have been no females killed, one juvenile (one-month-old Rajahnthon Haynie), and all victims have been black. If those first two trends continue, you will continue to hear officials tout their work on domestic violence and juvenile offenders, as both areas have been on the decline not just this year but last year as well.

-Through this date last year, each police district had recorded at least one homicide. This year, and let's cross our fingers, the Southeast District has yet to see a murder. The Southern District has just two total shootings, including one homicide.

-As for non-murder trends, it can be summarized like this: Everything is down by double-digits, except home invasions, which are up considerably. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:22 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Confronting crime, South Baltimore, Southeast Baltimore

Federal indictment targets pawn shop owners

Investigators raided several pawn shops in city and Baltimore County on Thursday, as part of a crackdown on a money-laundering scheme involving the transportation of more than $20 million in stolen goods, according to WBAL and the US Attorney's Office.

Police raided a shop in the 3500 block of South Hanover Street in Brooklyn. Two blocks away, Easy Money Pawn Shop on West Patapso Street was also raided, as well as Shawn's Quik Cash at Fifth Street and East Patapsco Street, and Instant Cash, located at 10th and East Patapsco Street.

WBAL said investigators carried out bags containing possible evidence, and a gun. The lead defendant in the case is Jerome Stal, 40, of Baltimore, who was convicted in 2002 of transportation of stolen property and sentenced to two years in prison, and the indictment calls for the forfeiture of $20 million, 58 bank accounts and 10 businesses.

Coincidentally, in today's paper Peter Hermann profiled law enforcement and legislative efforts to crack down on pawn shops

Here's more from the US Attorney's Office's press release on the indictment from yesterday:

Continue reading "Federal indictment targets pawn shop owners" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:02 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Baltimore County, South Baltimore

March 17, 2010

Pub crawls and neighborhoods

I started my day with penny Guinness stouts at 6 in the morning.

Well, actually, I drank a cup of coffee and watched others do the drinking. I was at No Idea Tavern on South Hanover Street, where that special bled into a another special that later today will launch a four-bar pub crawl (money raised is supporting a local elementary school).

At left, Megan Brooks, 22, Catonsville, and Jason Royer, 24, Halethorpe, start the morning with a drink, in a picture by The Sun's Kim Hairston.

A stabbing a few weeks ago after a pub crawl along Fort Avenue has rewnewed discussion on whether such events can and should be regulated. South Baltimore neighborhood groups are seeking permits, while bar owners say it's impossible to regulate or permit people from hopping from one place to another. I'll have a more detailed story on this hot topic on Thursday.

The liquor board might try a compromise by requiring any liquor license holder to notify the board whenever it sponsors an event involving more than one licensee. But trying to regulate an impromptu party or even a pub crawl organized by a person would be next to impossible.

Neighborhood residents have legitimate concerns about bands of rowdy, drunken people roaming through neighborhoods, breaking planters and being loud in the early afternoons. Some are responsible, such as the Irish Stroll in Federal Hill this past weekend that attracted up to 3,000 poeple. Organizers hired extra police and paid to clean up the streets.

But the stabbing on Covington Street involving the Hitmen bar crawl -- which raised money for a flag football team -- prompted many concerns. While I was out at No Idea, bar owners and patrons said the same thing: it comes down to personal responsiblity. Don't overserve, for the bartenders, and act reasonable, for those indulging.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:51 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Confronting crime, Neighborhoods, South Baltimore

March 9, 2010

Arrests: South Baltimore pub crawl stabbing, two homicides

A few other arrests to report. The man accused of stabbing someone during a South Baltimore pub crawl last weekend has turned himself in, according to police. Joseph Larry Burr Jr., 35, of the 300 block of S. Bruce St., has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and related charges in connection with the Feb. 27 stabbing of Michael Kooser following a fight outside Taps, a bar at Fort Avenue and S. Charles St. Charging documents don't spell out how Burr is related to the group (the two women already charged were friends of one of the flag football team members) or how police identified him as a suspect. Police said he turned himself in at the Southern District police station, accompanied by a lawyer.

Also, city police made two homicide arrests, though they're keeping details close to the vest and there's not much to report.

Continue reading "Arrests: South Baltimore pub crawl stabbing, two homicides" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:28 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore, South Baltimore

March 3, 2010

Pub crawls, permits and gentrification of Fort Avenue

Controversy after a stabbing along a Fort Avenue pub crawl this past weekend has raised questions about tensions in a neighborhood and gentrification, and now it seems there is an effort afoot to require pub crawls to get permits, according to Evan at the City That Breeds blog, who attended a community meeting on the topic last night. It seems a good time to revisit a story from a few years ago by former reporter John Woestendiek, who visited nearly every bar along the strip.

It's worth reading (expanded grafic and key) in light of what happend Saturday afternoon involving a pub crawl to raise money for a flag football team called the Hitmen. Two fights broke out, one ending in a participant stabbed three times in the back at East Fort and Covington, near a convenience store.

Continue reading "Pub crawls, permits and gentrification of Fort Avenue" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:25 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Confronting crime, Neighborhoods, South Baltimore

Pub crawl stabbing and the Internet

The old cliche in politics is that no one wants to see the sausage being made.

But it appears the opposite in news reporting.

The story about the fight and the stabbing at Saturday's South Baltimore pub crawl seemed to attract more attention as the storyline evolved (and veered off course in a blizzard of hateful comments) then did the finished version with all the facts.

My colleague Justin Fenton began reporting Monday morning with a rather bland police report that attracted the attention of participants, witnesses and residents, and the results could impact future pub crawls in Federal Hill and elsewhere in South Baltimore (for even more on this, see Sam Sessa's Midnight Sun blog).

What set some off right away was a statement from police that both the victim and the suspects were part of the Hitmen flag-football team drunk-a-thon fund raiser. No way, they claimed. Justin posted. Then the victim called to reiterate that contention. Justin posted again. The victim then posted his own comments saying he had set the reporter straight. Then the organizer called and conceded that the suspects might have been invited guests of one of the players, though not everyone knew everyone in the large group.

Then the police report came in and confirmed that indeed the fight was an internal dispute within the group. All the while, comments poured in for and against the pub crawlers, for and against the neighborhood, alternately calling residents and pub crawlers white trash and yuppie invaders of a working-class community.

Continue reading "Pub crawl stabbing and the Internet" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:24 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Confronting crime, South Baltimore

March 1, 2010

Man stabbed during South Baltimore pub crawl

(The story that resulted from this blog post and the subsequent reporting appeared in today's paper and can be found here.)

City police said a 24-year-old man was stabbed in South Baltimore’s Riverside neighborhood on Saturday night during a bar crawl.

At about 7:15 p.m., police received a call for a stabbing in the 1500 block of Covington St. Officers located a man standing on the corner bleeding heavily from his back, and he was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Detective Kevin Hagan, a police spokesman, said a group of people were participating in a pub crawl to raise money for a flag football team called the Hitmen.

“There was an incident earlier in the evening involving some of the football team members, and later in the evening, two females started more or less attacking the victim,” Hagan said.

Hagan said a man known to the group then ran up to the victim and struck him several times. No one saw a knife, but witnesses told police that the blows appeared to be “more a stabbing motion than a punch,” he said.

Continue reading "Man stabbed during South Baltimore pub crawl" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:42 AM | | Comments (169)
Categories: South Baltimore

February 24, 2010

Tactical raids common in area

Heavily armed tactical police in Prince George's County raid more homes than any other law enforcement agency in the state, according to newly released data from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

In the last six months of 2009, police there conducted 195 tactical entries, 105 involving crime deemed nonserious felonies and misdemeanors. That's compared with 84 such raids in Baltimore (at left, a scene from a barricade in East Baltimore in 2007) over the same time period, 63 in Baltimore County, 16 in Harford, 22 in Carroll and 27 in Howard.

Lawmakers in Annapolis required police accross Maryland to submit the data after a mayor of Berwyn Heights was hancuffed by sheriffs deputies who burst into his home with automatic weapons and shot his two dogs. Drug dealers had sent packages of marijuana to unsuspecting homeowners and waited until postal carriers left them on front porches, with the hopes of intercepting them before the owners came home. Police had intercepted the package sent to Mayor Cheye Calvo's house and suspected he was the actual recipient. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.

But police agencies steadfastly stood by their tactics. Calvo has sued Prince George's County, arguing that police there routinely use SWAT team tactics on even the most routine of raids, and that the raid on his house could've been avoided with a little prior investigation. Calvo told me he believes the numbers given to the state back his claim.

Unfortunately all we have are spreadsheets. There is no narrative, so what we don't know is even on routine raids whether police believe the targets had guns. For those interested in revewing some of the raw data:

Baltimore City; Baltimore County; Anne Arundel County; Howard County; Prince George's County

A Prince George's County police spokeswoman told me that even in cases where minor crimes are alleged, most are for drugs, and police assume there are weapons. That makes a tactical entry necessary.

But the argument still is that police, since the Sept. 11 attacks, have armed themselves like never before and are increasingly using military-style tactics that amount to paramilitary like operations to arrest people wanted on crimes that involve small amounts of drugs. Calvo said police last year raided a house in his neighborhood looking for someone wanted for writing bad checks.

The statistics compiled on police raids give a broad picture of how the tactic is used in Maryland. Of the 806 raids conducted in the six-month period, more than 94 percent stemmed from search or arrest warrants. Most of the others came as the result of a barricade situation.

Police forced their way into 545 houses, seized property in 633 of the raids, made arrests 485 times and discharged their weapons five times. In the six months studied, seven civilians were hurt but none killed, and two animals were injured and two killed.

Baltimore police listed raid sites by ZIP code, with the most, 22, in Northwest Baltimore, followed by 14 in parts of East and Northeast Baltimore. There were nine in Waverly, four in Govans and five in Highlandtown.

In Baltimore County, police conducted the most raids in Halethorpe (nine), Dundalk (eight) and seven each in Essex and Middle River. Howard County police conducted the most raids in Columbia, 13. Anne Arundel County authorities performed the most raids in Glen Burnie, 20, with eight in Brooklyn Park and six in Laurel.

February 16, 2010

Breaking down Amber Alerts

Peter Hermann today explored why out of four recent child abductions, only two triggered the statewide "Amber Alert." If you were watching the Olympics or other programming on Friday night, your TV was interrupted with an unavoidable minute-long alert that a girl had been abducted from Cecil County. Another was issued the next day in relation with an abduction of a Prince George's County girl.  But there were two other abductions during that time span, which did not trigger an Ambert Alert. The apparent reason is the involvement of a vehicle, and an available description of that vehicle. Since part of the Amber Alert is to have the description put up on highway signs, the lack of a vehicle apparently is a make-or-break element for broadcasting a description, even though the Amber Alert is so much more than a highway alert system.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Crime elsewhere, Howard County, South Baltimore

February 12, 2010

Police investigating domestic kidnapping

UPDATE: Police tweeted at 4:50 pm that the children had been found unharmed, and a suspect had been taken into custody. 

Baltimore police are asking for the public's help in locating a 29-year-old man accused of abducting two children from his girlfriend's home this morning in South Baltimore.

About 1 p.m., police received a call from a woman in the 2400 block of Dorton Ct., in the Westport area, who said her boyfriend, Kwame Oseitutu, had abducted the couple's 3-year-old daughter, Akeelah, and the woman's 5-year-old girl, Emani, following a domestic dispute earlier in the day, police said.

Police said Oseitutu has threatened to harm the 5-year-old girl, and homicide detectives are investigating. (The homicide unit investigates all kidnapping cases). Police believe the girls may now be in the custody of a third party who is unaware of the circumstances.

Oseitutu resides in the 2400 block of Dorton Ct., and is described as a black male, 6-feet-tall, 200 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call the homicide unit at 410-396-2100.

[Photo courtesy Baltimore Police Department]

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:13 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: South Baltimore

January 30, 2010

Best of the Blotter

Today, we start a new weekly feature, Best of the Blotter, a look back at the funniest, strangest, distrubing and serious crimes that were too small for a big headline but too important to residents to leave out of the paper.

Richard Irwin, our venerable police scribe, has listing purse snatchings, muggings, shootings and other mayhem for three newspapers and under the close eye of 10 mayors (soon to be 11) and 13 police commissioners. The feature, popular both on-line and in print, turned 30 last year and we celebrated with a cake adorned with Dick's very first blotter published in the News-American in 1979.

So without further ado, here's the first installment:

Western Baltimore
Shooting/arrest: An 18-year-old male was arrested Saturday and charged with the attempted murder of a man, 22, in the 2200 block of N. Fulton Ave. near Liberty Heights Avenue hours earlier. The victim was standing in the block about 9:40 p.m. when he was shot in the right buttock. Police said the victim ran two blocks to a house, where he was found by police and was taken by a city Fire Department ambulance to Sinai Hospital. He was expected to survive. Arrested at an undisclosed location and charged with attempted murder, assault by shooting and a handgun violation was Dion Wilson, of the 2800 block of Gwynns Falls Parkway. Wilson was being held at Central Booking and Intake Center. Police had no motive for the shooting.

Theft -- A 2007 Ford Taurus was parked in the 400 block of E. Eager St. on Sunday when someone broke a window and stole a remote-controlled toy car valued at $40.

Eastern Baltimore
Theft -- Three ladders, all worth nearly $900, were stolen from a vehicle parked in the 3700 block of Duncanwood Lane between Jan. 19 and Friday.

Church burglary -- Someone broke into Israel Baptist Church in the 1200 block of N. Chester St. through a window between Sunday and Tuesday and stole a microwave oven and a soft-drink vending machine.

Robbery -- A deliveryman for a distributing company was outside a liquor store in the 2300 block of Barclay St. about 5 p.m. Tuesday when a man armed with a handgun robbed him of liquor valued at $182.

Theft -- Someone entered a second-floor bedroom of a house in the 1600 block of Cliftview Ave. on Tuesday and stole a Wii system valued at $200.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:31 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Best of the Blotter, East Baltimore, South Baltimore

January 28, 2010

Dog fighting or rough play?

The story out of Baltimore County is shocking: an experienced dog groomer and vet technician accused by police of being involved in a dog fighting ring. Police raided a home on Lange Street as part of a drug investigation and say they found more than they bargained for (picture at left):

They allege the kitchen had been turned into a virtual medical clinic with tubs of medication, gauze and other medical supplies. Most, they said, had been taken from the suspect's current and previous employers. Cops said they found a dog collar with bite marks and shackles with weights, and they said a treadmill was used to train the pit bulls. They said it appeared the fenced-in back yard was the arena as most of the grass had been torn up.

Police arrested three people, including the groomer, Nicole Marie Caruso, a popular groomer at the SoBo Dog Day Care in South Baltimore's Locust Point.

But colleagues there and at her former job, the Animal Medical Clinic in Timonium, had nothing but good comments about Caruso (at left) and expressed doubt that police had the story straight. Caruso, they told me, is an avid animal rights activist who took in strays and treated her six pit bulls as if they were her children. Customers from Towson drove to Locust Point just so she could take care of their dogs.

Police found a lot of questionable things in Caruso's town house (including, they said, drugs and evidence that her roommates were selling marijuana in the neighborhood) but they don't prove an organized dog fighting ring. They charged her and her boyfriend with possession of animals with the intent to train for fighting.

Friends and co-workers say Caruso at worst became entangled with some questionable roommates and a boyfriend with a criminal record and was trying to get them out of her home and herself out of the troubled relationship. Was the treadmill used to train dogs to fight or did Caruso buy it for $30 off Craigslis to lose weight? Was the address book police found in a kitchen drawer -- with names of people and names of their animals -- evidence of a dog fighting ring or simply Caruso's client list for grooming?

Friends said her dogs fought each other while playing in the backyard, and that Caruso used her medicine and skills to patch them up. But police seized a lot of drugs that seems to indicate a full-scale vet shop in the home indicative of more than treating a few scars. One suspect told police that Caruso would give dogs IV drips of saline.

Caruso and her family declined to talk. We'll see how this case unfolds.

Here is what Baltimore County police said they found inside the home, according to charging documents filed in court:

Continue reading "Dog fighting or rough play?" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:57 AM | | Comments (9)

January 20, 2010

Community association leader's citation will be dropped

Prosecutors plan to drop charges against a South Baltimore community leader who was arrested and later released and given a citation for impeding a police investigation.

Christopher Taylor, 33, president of the Union Square community association, was arrested Dec. 3 after police said he interfered with an investigation into an alleged sex crime involving a teenage girl, who ran down the street and asked Taylor to call 911.

Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy, said prosecutors plan to drop the case Thursday morning because police incorrectly wrote a citation for “disturbing the peace” instead of “hindering a police investigation.”

“He was not disturbing the peace, according to the facts outlined,” Burns said. “This was a hindering case, and they cited the wrong criminal code as a reference point.”

Critics said the case was a clear incident of over-aggressive policing and misplaced priorities, though police were privately grumbling that prosecutors had again failed to back up the Police Department, which has not publicly wavered in its decision to cite Taylor.

Continue reading "Community association leader's citation will be dropped" »

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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