In the hours after he allegedly shot and killed a 13-year-old youth he suspected of ringing his father's doorbell, William C. Brandon Jr. almost ended up in handcuffs, but police got to his house a few moments too late.
Since that day three weeks ago, Brandon, 48, has eluded city police and the FBI. Charged with first-degree murder for the Dec. 8 slaying of Rubin Lawson, he was last seen leaving the scene of the West Baltimore murder.
Police believe they just missed him as he left his home in the 600 block of Brice Street.
Still, they believe they will find him.
"Sooner or later we're going to get him," said Det. Oscar L. Requer of the homicide unit. "What can he do? He has limited resources. He can only run so long."
The FBI has obtained a warrant charging Brandon with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, said FBI spokesman Andrew Manning.
Brandon has prior convictions for manslaughter and a narcotics violation.
Mr. Manning said that since December 11, when the FBI joined the searched, the agency has checked two areas outside Maryland.
So far, they have not spotted the fugitive. Mr. Manning declined to discuss where the FBI is looking, or any other matters of the probe for fear of alerting Brandon.Members of the city police escapee and apprehension unit also have been searching locations without success.
"We feel he has fled this jurisdiction," said Detective Requer.
The detective said he based that assumption on the fact that police have not seen Brandon, or received information on him from local sources.
Police believe that Brandon may have gone underground into the world of drug addicts, a move they feel could lead to his arrest.
"You know how that culture lives, day-to-day. Let one of them go down and they'll give [Brandon] up in a minute," said Detective Requer.
The shooting occurred just before 8 p.m. December 8 outside Brandon's father's house in the unti block of North Smallwood Street. Police said young Lawson, who lived in the 900 block of Edmondson Avenue, was standing on the street with a group of juveniles whom Brandon believed had been ringing his father's doorbell.
Brandon allegedly approached the group, grabbed young Lawson by the shirt collar, put a gun to the youth's chest and fired, police said.
Young Lawson died less than an hour later at University Medical Center.
Anyone with information about Brandon is asked to call the city homicide unit at 396-2100 or the FBI at 265-8080.