Disc jockey slain in drug area xTC Police say 2 vials were in his hand

October 02, 1992|By Sheridan Lyons and Michael James | Sheridan Lyons and Michael James,Staff Writers

Radio personality Alfred Jerome Stewart was shot and killed in a drug-infested area of East Baltimore, and police say he died with two vials of suspected crack cocaine in his hand.

Mr. Stewart, a morning drive-time disc jockey for gospel radio station WWIN-AM, was shot several times in the back at 11:25 p.m. Wednesday at the corner of Cliftview Avenue and Harford )) Road.

Mr. Stewart apparently parked in his Mercedes-Benz in front of a carryout restaurant shortly before he was shot. Police found him lying beside the car, its engine still running. Yesterday, a homicide detective said that Mr. Stewart 51, of the 8700 block of Mary Lane in Jessup, died with the vials in his hand.

Mr. Stewart was slain in an area that is known for heavy drug trafficking and where the ground is littered with used syringes, detectives said.

As callers jammed the phone lines at WWIN's AM and FM stations yesterday, Mr. Stewart's friends and colleagues expressed disbelief over his death and the news that police believe the crime was drug related.

"It's a little far-fetched for me to believe," said Harold M. Pompey, 39, a friend and 16-year veteran of WWIN who now co-hosts a morning talk show on Majic 95.9 FM.

"He was a very religious man and he lived a lot of that. It wasn't just showmanship. Gospel was a foundation of his career -- and his life."

WWIN news director Glenda McCartney said station officials were initially told by police that several vials of white powder had been found near Mr. Stewart's body.

Ms. McCartney said everyone at the station was saddened by the killing of Mr. Stewart, a longtime area radio personality who had worked at WWIN for two years.

After his 5 a.m to 10 a.m. air shift was over, Mr. Stewart worked part-time in the station's sales department, Ms. McCartney said.

Cathy Hughes, the Washington-based owner of WWIN and its sister station WWIN-FM, described Mr. Stewart as "a person who was loved by so many people here."

She arrived at the stations' studios in Scarlett Place, near the Inner Harbor, yesterday morning after being informed of the slaying by an emergency phone call while she was conducting a talk show at one of two Washington stations she owns.

Ms. Hughes, who bought the Baltimore stations earlier this year, noting that Mr. Stewart had helped train many radio personalties in the Baltimore-Washington area, added, "I was so excited about working with Al."

The beginning of Mr. Stewart's tenure at WWIN in 1990 coincided with the station's change from an urban contemporary to a gospel format, said business manager Joyce Trigger.

"We went after him because he was a very well-known name [in local radio]," Ms. Trigger said. "The day he came was the day we went to gospel."

Kole Porter, 28, director of promotions at the Baltimore station who hosts a Sunday jazz show on the FM station, said, "he was known to everyone. Gospel listeners are extremely loyal, so, no matter where you go, they stay with you."

Before coming to WWIN, Mr. Stewart worked for gospel station WBGR and Morgan State University's WEAA, where he was general manager and a university instructor. He taught at Coppin State University in the late 1970s and at the Community College of Baltimore in 1980.

Mr. Stewart's slaying was the 251st in Baltimore this year, 35 more than at the comparable time last year, police said.

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