Two are sought in slaying of man delivering pizza

August 13, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

City police have identified two suspects in the shooting death of a Russian immigrant who was slain Wednesday evening while delivering pizza in Northwest Baltimore.

Samuel Small, 17, of the 3000 block of Virginia Ave. and Joseph Benjamin, 23, of the 2700 block of Virginia Ave. were charged in warrants late Thursday with first-degree murder, using a handgun in the commission of a crime and robbery with a deadly weapon.

Homicide detectives also were looking for a third male.

Igor Berenshteyn, 23, was shot after he tried to deliver a pizza in the 2700 block of Virginia Ave.

After knocking on a door and getting no response, Mr. Berenshteyn started back toward his car when he was confronted by three men, one armed with a handgun, police said.

Mr. Berenshteyn pulled out a knife to defend himself and was shot at least once in the left side.

He was pronounced dead at Sinai Hospital at 7:40 p.m.

Officer Sabrina V. Tapp-Harper, a police spokeswoman, said a weapon was not found.

"Investigators believe it was a possible setup," Officer Tapp-Harper said, referring to the apparent bogus request for pizza.

Mr. Berenshteyn, who immigrated to the United States from Russia with his parents 18 months ago, was working at a takeout shop called Pizza Deal on Park Heights Avenue.

His mother, Faina Vaynerman, said her son did not want to come to the United States.

"I told him, 'Igor, you have to do it,' " she recalled on Thursday. "All our relatives live in the U.S. I said he could find his future here."

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