Woman shot dead at door, mistaken for someone else

March 11, 1991|By Peter Hermann

A 22-year-old woman apparently mistaken for someone else was shot to death at a friend's house in South Baltimore last night while picking up her 2-year-old daughter.

Police arrested a suspect less than an hour later -- a man convicted of murder three decades ago.

Detective Marvin Sydnor said that Tambra Dove of the 1500 block of Cypress Street answered a knock at the door of her friend's row house in the 1100 block of Wicomico Street and was immediately shot several times in her head and chest by a man carrying a rifle.

He said Ms. Dove's daughter was visiting her father at the home where the shooting occurred about 7:45 p.m.

He said man who shot Ms. Dove fired as soon as the front door was opened. After the shooting,the man dumped the rifle on the street and ran to his own house two doors away,the detective said.

The suspect had been involved in a long-standing argument with another resident of the row house -- a dispute dating back at least five years,Detective Sydnor said.

"This is really sad," the homicide detective said,"especially since it is an innocent bystander who had nothing to do with this argument. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Police said that John Garbutt,51,of the 1100 block of Wicomico Street,was charged early today with first-degree murder and a possession of a handgun found after the arrest.

Garbutt,as a 21-year-old soldier,was convicted of the 1961 murder of Earl L. Baker,a 55-year-old Carroll County grocer who was shot to death in a holdup. Garbutt,who was sentenced to life in prison,escaped in 1976 and was captured two years later in North Carolina.

Police were unable to say when Garbutt was granted parole.

Detective Sydnor said the intended victim -- a friend of Ms. Dove -- was at the house at the time. He said police had not figured out why the fatal shot was fired at the first person to answer the door of the house,which was shared by several families.

"We figured he knew who his intended victim was," the detective said.

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