An 82-year-old man was stabbed to death yesterday after two men forced their way into his South Baltimore row house in an apparent attempt to attack his grandson, according to police.
Raleigh Herman Atkins, of the 1700 block of Clarkson Street, was taken to University Hospital, where he died at 2:20 a.m. of a stab wound of the back, the police said.
"It was senseless. They didn't have any reason to do that to him," Mr. Atkins' 26-year-old grandson, Paul George Kratsas, said yesterday. "It was me they wanted."
Mr. Kratsas' 2-year-old son, Paul Justin Kratsas, was in the house at the time of the stabbing but was unharmed. Mr. Kratsas said the boy's mother, who was Mr. Kratsas' former girlfriend, was killed last month in another house in South Baltimore when she answered a knock on the door and was shot by a man who mistook her for someone else.
Investigators said that in yesterday's killing, Mr. Atkins was sleeping on a sofa in the first-floor family room just after 1 a.m. when two men knocked on the front door and demanded drugs from Mr. Kratsas.
Mr. Kratsas denied that he has any involvement with drugs and contended that the two men had used that premise as a ruse to get to him because of an earlier fight he had with the brother of one of the intruders.
"I don't sell drugs out of here," Mr. Kratsas said.
After the pair forced their way into the house, Mr. Kratsas said, he went to a kitchen for a knife with which to defend himself. But, he said, the two managed to take the knife from him.
Mr. Kratsas said he then ran to his girlfriend's house a short distance away to get another weapon. When he got back, he said he saw the two intruders run into a house in the 1400 block of South Hanover street.
Mr. Kratsas said he tried unsuccessfully to get the men to come out of the Hanover Street house before going back home to notify the police. The police said that they arrested the two men as they attempted to climb on to the rear roof of the Hanover Street house.
Frank C. Bisesi Jr., 27, of the 500 block of North Cathedral Street, and Mark Lyndon Kirby, 31, of the 5800 block of Windsor Mill Road, were charged with first-degree murder, the police said.
Both were taken to the Southern District lockup, where they were awaiting a bail hearing last night.
Mr. Kratsas said that when he returned to his house after chasing the men, he saw his grandfather sitting at the kitchen. He said at that point that his grandfather appeared to have only a minor stab wound. He said he did not know how, or why or under what circumstances Mr. Atkins had been stabbed.
"I was worried about him. But, I thought he was all right," Mr. Kratsas said. "He asked me to get him his hearing aid before he went to the hospital."
An hour later he learned that his grandfather had died at the hospital.
Mr. Atkins retired about 10 years ago after working about 50 years for a local paint firm, Mr. Kratsas said. "He was really easygoing. Everybody liked him," he said.
Mr. Kratsas said his former girlfriend, Tambra Dove, 22, was killed March 10 when she was shot by a man during another neighborhood fracas. According to police accounts of the incident, Ms. Dove was at a friend's house in the 1100 block of Wicomico Street when she answered a knock at the door and was shot to death.
The police said the man who was later arrested for the shooting said he shot Ms. Dove believing that she was the person with whom he had been arguing.
Mr. Kratsas said he took custody of his son after Ms. Dove's death.
Mr. Atkins' murder brings to 103 the number of people slain in Baltimore this year, 12 more than for this same time last year, according to police.