Henry Ingram had seen his son Sterling go through some hard times. At one point in his life, his son battled a drug problem.
But his son turned his life around, embraced Jesus, and for the last five years had been drug-free and an active member of the Mount Olivet Baptist Church in West Baltimore.
On Wednesday night, Sterling Ingram, a 30-year-old married father of three, was fatally shot during a robbery at a carryout in the 1800 block of Edmondson Ave. in West Baltimore.
"He was a beautiful son," Mr. Ingram said yesterday, sitting at the dining room table in the house where he raised five children. "I don't know why they had to kill him."
Two teen-agers have been charged with the murder. One was taken into custody yesterday morning and the other is still at large.
The younger Mr. Ingram, of the 5100 block of Goodnow Road in Northwest Baltimore, had gone into the Good Luck Chinese restaurant to pick up cigarettes and food shortly before 11 p.m. when two young men entered, one armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, according to homicide Detective Scott Keller.
The men attempted to rob Mr. Ingram, who was holding money in his hand. He struggled with the gunman and was shot in the chest.
Mr. Ingram staggered outside and fell to the pavement. The robbers picked the victim's money off the floor and ran.
Police issued warrants charging Richard Towson, 17, address unknown, and Troy D. Friend, 18, of the 600 block of Brice St., with first-degree murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. Mr. Towson is charged as an adult.
Mr. Friend was arrested shortly before 10 a.m. at his home. "He was home sleeping in his bed," Detective Keller said.
Department of Parole and Probation records show that Mr. Towson is on probation for a handgun violation. Homicide detectives yesterday found that he had moved from his most recent known address in the 5600 block of Frankford Avenue. Police were still seeking him last night.
Mr. Ingram was employed by an East Baltimore car wash. He was a religious person who went to church every Sunday and frequently during the week as well, his father said.
"After he got rid of the [drug] problem, he said, 'Dad, I'm never going to get into the junk again.' And I believed him, because he was sincere about what he was saying," his father recalled. "He was doing beautiful. He did fight it and he overcame it."
Lamont Crawford, a childhood friend who still lives down the street from the slain man's parents, also had been impressed by his dedication to his religion. "He had a Bible with him every day," he said.
Mr. Ingram said his son had originally given the Bible to him. "And he came one Sunday and said, 'Dad, I'm going to borrow that Bible.' " He said his son never finished using it. "Everywhere he went, he had that Bible."