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Murder Ink

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 6/9/2010

Murders this Week: 6
Murders this Year: 83

The death of Matthew Martin, a 31-year-old Caucasian man from Locust Point, was added to the Baltimore Police Department's official homicide tally. Martin was reported missing in April. On May 15, two men were fishing in Patapsco Valley State Park when they came across something sticking out of the dirt that they thought might be a human arm. It was Martin's arm. He had been buried in the park after being beaten and stabbed to death. Christopher Calvert, a 31-year-old Caucasian man and friend of Martin's, was the last person to see him alive.

According to charging documents, Calvert told police that he bought some marijuana with Martin, after which Martin dropped Calvert off at home promising to come back and pick him up for opening day at Camden Yards. Martin never showed. Calvert told police that he took a cab to the game, got drunk, and lost his cell phone. When he came home he went to bed and shat himself, forcing him to dispose of his bed and the carpet underneath it. People who were supposed to have been at the game with Calvert denied seeing him there and told police he had asked them to lie and say he was there.

Kevin Skipper, a 30-year-old Caucasian man, came forward on June 2 and allegedly told police that he saw Calvert kill Martin in Calvert's basement apartment in the 1300 block of Richardson Street in Locust Point on April 9. Calvert allegedly asked Skipper to come over to help him deal with someone who owed him money. According to charging documents, Skipper said he saw Calvert come down the steps with another man. Calvert had placed a trash bag over the man's head and was allegedly hitting him in the head with a hammer. Skipper alleged that Calvert then pinned Martin and stabbed him in the head and neck. Skipper admitted to holding down Martin's legs while Calvert allegedly stabbed and beat him and then helping Calvert dispose of the evidence. Both men have been charged with Martin's murder.

There was a police-involved shooting this week. As of press time, it had not been added to the BPD's homicide rolls, but was still under investigation. Tyrone Brown, a 32-year-old former Marine, was at Eden's Lounge in Mount Vernon. He left the club and was walking on East Eager Street by the Hippo when he crossed paths with Gahiji Tshamba, a 36-year-old African-American man, who had just left Red Maple. Brown allegedly grabbed the ass of the woman with Tshamba. Tshamba confronted Brown and the two argued. According to police, Tshamba then identified himself as a police officer--he was off-duty at the time--and took out his service weapon. Tshamba fired his gun 13 times, hitting Brown six times in the chest. Brown was taken to a local hospital where he died at 2:18 a.m. Brown was unarmed. Tshamba refused to take a breathalyzer test. He has been suspended with pay and the State's Attorney's office had not decided at press time whether or not criminal charges would be brought against him. The officer has been with the BPD 15 years and previously shot a man in the back during a foot chase. This is the fifth police-involved shooting this year, the third in which a person died.

Monday, May 31

10:37 a.m. Don Rice, a 59-year-old African-American man, was discovered sitting in the driver's seat of an SUV in the 1400 block of Gleneagle Road in Northeast Baltimore. He had been shot in the head and was dead.

6:08 p.m. Michael Thornton, a 30-year-old African-American man, got into an argument with a woman inside a house in the 4800 block of Truesdale Avenue in Frankford. Kevin Belton, a 42-year-old African-American man, came over during the fight. The argument escalated, and Thornton allegedly grabbed a knife and stabbed Belton several times. Belton died at a local hospital at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 1

12:43 a.m. Police were on patrol in Harlem Park when they heard gunshots coming from the 500 block of North Fulton Avenue. When they got to the block they found Deandre Leeper, a 27-year-old African-American man. Leeper had been shot repeatedly and died at an area hospital at 1:12 a.m.

1:08 p.m. That afternoon, Israel Johnson Jr., a 19-year-old African-American man, was shot numerous times in the apartment building he lived in on the 1600 block of Bruce Court in Sandtown-Winchester. He died at a local hospital an hour later.

Friday, June 4

12:33 a.m. Police found Mark Zimmerman, a 44-year-old Caucasian man, in the hallway of the apartment building he lived in on the 6000 block of Moravia Park Drive in Northeast Baltimore. He had been stabbed and was bleeding from the torso. He died at an area hospital at 1:29 a.m. Zimmerman is the 10th person stabbed to death this year.

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