Thugs kill executive outside store

October 04, 1990|By William B. Talbottand Joe Nawrozki | William B. Talbottand Joe Nawrozki,Evening Sun Staff

The 30-year-old vice president of a southwest Baltimore furniture business that has been in operation in the city for nearly a century was shot and killed today during an apparent robbery attempt.

Aaron Levenson, an executive with the Royal Furniture Co. Inc., in the 500 block of S. Monroe St., was pronounced dead of gunshot wounds about 8:30 a.m.

Levenson was shot once in the stomach and twice in the back, police said.

He was married and the father of two girls, 3 years old and 3 months old, and recently had purchased a new house, according to several Royal employees.

Minutes after the shooting, the victim's 70-year-old father, and owner of the business, ran from the building across Monroe Street and saw his son lying face down on the sidewalk.

"Aaron, Aaron, how can you be gone? How can you be dead, how?" Joseph Levenson, the father, screamed as onlookers watched in silence.

Joseph Levenson partially collapsed, witnesses said. He was taken in a city ambulance to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he was treated and released about 10 a.m.

Near Aaron Levenson's body lay two vinyl money bags, their zippers closed. A dark blue-black canvas business satchel was found near the body. It could not be determined, however, if any money or checks had been taken, police said.

Police said Aaron Levenson was returning to the company's main office from a warehouse in the 600 block S. Fulton Ave., where he had picked up the previous day's receipts.

Police said that was Aaron Levenson's daily routine and that the assailants might have been waiting to ambush him.

The slaying shocked employees of the company, started by Joseph Levenson's father nearly 100 years ago.

Nancy Rimkevicius, who works in customer relations, said, "We are like family here. It was not, 'He's the boss and we're the employee.' We sit at the same table and eat lunch together like we did yesterday."

She said the Aaron Levenson's wife, known by employees as Chrissy, was told about her husband's death by another Royal worker.

"He was just one of us," said Ann Philmore, another employee. "I said good night to him last night when I left. This is just horrible."

Not far from where Aaron Levenson died, homicide detectives found three spent shell casings, either 9mm or .380-caliber, apparently fired from a semiautomatic weapon.

Those casings were taken to the police crime laboratory, along with the hood of a car believed touched by one or both of the suspects as they fled, police said.

A witness, a 60-year-old woman, saw Aaron Levenson fall seconds after the shooting.

"I heard the shots and saw the two guys run," said the woman, who asked not to be identified. "They hit and run, man. They split."

She told police the two suspects ran east toward Wilkens Avenue.

They were described by the woman to police as in their late teens or early 20s. She said both men were dressed in black jogging suits.

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