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Murder Ink

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 7/23/2008

Murders This Week: 7
Murders This Year: 118

Two deaths were added to the homicide rolls this week. On July 15, Baltimore police officer Thomas Sanders, a 37-year-old African-American man, was indicted by the Baltimore City Grand Jury on manslaughter charges for the death of Edward Hunt, a 27-year-old African-American man. On Jan. 30, at about noon, Sanders was questioning Hunt outside the Hamilton Park Shopping Center in the 2300 block of East Northern Parkway. Sanders tried to handcuff Hunt, but according to police, Hunt broke free and ran from the officer. Sanders then allegedly shot and killed Hunt. A press release from the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office containing information on Sanders' indictment includes the disclaimer that "an indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceeding." We don't recall ever having seen this disclaimer on any previous indictment announcements.

The death of Ralph McKnight, a 50-year-old African-American man, was also deemed a homicide this week. On June 1, at 2:37 a.m., police were called to a home in the 800 block of Bridgeview Road in Cherry Hill. McKnight, who had been shot at least once in the head, was found dead inside. At first it was unclear whether or not McKnight's wounds were self-inflicted, but the city medical examiner has ruled his death a homicide.

A homicide was also removed from the official tally. On Jan. 30, Darrell Holmes was shot in the face by his 14-year-old cousin. The boys had found Holmes' father's gun. Holmes' cousin took the magazine out of the gun but did not realize that there was still a round in the chamber. He shot Holmes, killing him. According to police, Holmes' death has been ruled an accident by the state and removed from the count.

Despite the removal of Holmes' murder, there continues to be a difference between the Baltimore Police Department's homicide number and this column's. This column counts 118 murders through July 20; BPD counts 117. At press time, BPD could not account for this discrepancy.

The name of the woman found dead in a wooded area in the 4500 block of Old Frederick Road on July 7 has been released. She was Brenda Hatfield, a 45-year-old Caucasian woman. The man killed in a double shooting July 13 on the front porch of a home in the 3200 block of Lyndale Avenue was Tony Smith, a 26-year-old African-American man.

Wednesday, July 16

1:10 a.m. A man was in his home in the 3800 block of Hayward Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. He heard someone come through the basement door and walk upstairs into the house. The man got his gun, which was registered, and went down to the basement. He saw that the basement door was open and called to his 82-year-old aunt to see if she was making the noise. She wasn't. He then saw a man run through the kitchen to the back door. He fired, striking Anthony Coates, a 45-year-old African-American man, in the back. Coates collapsed in the backyard. The man called 911, put the gun on the kitchen table, and waited for the authorities to arrive. After talking to several people in the public information office at BPD, it remains unclear whether Coates' death was included in the department's homicide tally. The State's Attorney's Office has not yet reviewed the case to decide if the man's actions were criminal, but according to police, he has not been charged with a crime.

Friday, July 18

11:05 a.m. A 45-year-old African-American man was found shot to death in a vacant house in the 5000 block of Pembridge Avenue near Pimlico Race Course in Central Park Heights. Police are waiting until the man's family has been notified of his death to release his name.

Saturday, July 19

10:45 p.m. Omar Phillips, a 35-year-old African-American man, got into an argument with another man at Linden Bar and Liquors at 904 W. North Ave. in Reservoir Hill. The man pulled out a gun, shot Phillips in the head, and ran out of the store. An officer patrolling the area saw the gunman running and chased him. Other officers in the area were given the man's description and found him a block away in the 2200 block of Linden Avenue. Police told the man to stop, but he ran, shooting at least once at the officer. The officer, who was not hit, returned fire, missing the man, who escaped. Phillips was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died at 11:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 20

3:13 a.m. An officer in the area near the 200 block of North Hilton Street heard gunshots and found Gary Cooper, a 29-year-old African-American man, shot repeatedly in the head in front of a vacant house in that block. Cooper died at Shock Trauma less than an hour later.

9:30 p.m. Police got a call from a family member of Ruby Johnson Mosby, a 23-year-old African-American woman, and her husband, Michael Mosby, a 19-year-old African-American man. The family member had not heard from the couple in two days. Police met the man at the Mosbys' home in the 1200 block of Limit Avenue at the city's northern line. Inside the house they found Michael and Ruby stabbed to death. Neighbors heard a loud argument coming from the house Saturday morning. Police believe Michael stabbed his wife and then himself. If so, this would be the second time this year a man killed his wife or girlfriend and them himself. Police were called to their home on June 9 for a domestic-abuse complaint and arrested Michael, charging him with assault. A court order for him to stay away from Ruby was dismissed a few days later when she failed to appear at the hearing. At least 13 people have been murdered this year in domestic-violence incidents.

Updates

Lamont Dudley, a 22-year-old African-American man, was indicted by the Baltimore City Grand Jury on July 14 for the murder of Effrem Kearney, a 20-year-old African-American man. According to the State Attorney’s Office, Dudley approached Kearney in the 1500 block of Holbrook Street near Green Mount Cemetery on Jan. 19 and started shooting at him. Kearney tried to run but collapsed. Dudley allegedly stood over Kearney and shot him several more times, killing him.

Dajuan Marshall, a 26-year-old African-American man, was indicted by the grand jury on July 17 for the kidnapping and murder of Kenneth Jones, a 26-year-old African-American man. According to the State’s Attorney’s Office, Jones was downtown by Custom House and Water Street on June 8 when Marshall and another man came up to Jones and forced him to get into the trunk of a car at gunpoint. Jones was found lying in the 4500 block of Bonner Road shortly after midnight on June 9. He had been shot in the head and was dead.

On July 18, Howard Drummond, a 26-year-old African-American man, and Joel Ugah, a 23-year-old African-American man, were indicted by the grand jury for a triple shooting that left one woman dead. On June 17, Sandy Howard, a 23-year-old African-American woman, was driving in the 4100 block of Hyden Court in Brooklyn when someone started shooting at her car. Howard was shot in the back and died; her two passengers were also hit but survived.

Also on July 18, the grand jury indicted three people for the May 7 murder of Robert Johnson, a 39-year-old African-American man. According to the State’s Attorney’s Office, Tiffany Lowery, a 23-year-old African-American woman, and Paul Tenney, a 28-year-old Caucasian man, got into an argument with Johnson in the 1200 block of James Street in Pigtown. During that argument, Donnell Covington, a 22-year-old African-American man, allegedly came up to Johnson and stabbed him to death.

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