Police seeking two men in ex-officer's killing Victim was among 3 people fatally shot in city Friday

November 29, 1998|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police were searching yesterday for two unknown men in the fatal shooting of a retired city officer, who was killed in an apparent robbery outside his longtime West Baltimore home.

The victim, Oliver T. Murdock, 73, was pronounced dead just before midnight Friday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, about two hours after he was shot in the 2500 block of Riggs Ave., city homicide detectives said.

Apparently unrelated shootings in the city earlier Friday left two men dead and one wounded, police said.

Murdock was returning home with his wife, Katherine, 73, about 9: 50 p.m. when they were confronted by two men demanding money. In a brief scuffle, one of the robbers shot Murdock, who managed to fire one round from the .38-caliber handgun he carried, police said.

Katherine Murdock was not injured, and the assailants fled in a dark-colored pickup truck, police said.

The gunfire shattered the quiet of the holiday weekend and left neighbors mourning.

"I was watching 'A Miracle on 34th Street' on TV and they had just decided Kriss Kringle was real when I heard the shot," said Erika McAfee, 16, a close friend and neighbor of the Murdocks. "I ran outside and he was lying there on the ground. He was still talking so I thought he was going to be OK.

"He was very well-loved and will be missed," McAfee said.

Murdock was born and raised in Baltimore. He moved to Riggs Avenue 46 years ago and quickly made a name for himself. He was described by longtime friends and family as a gregarious and helpful man who volunteered in the community and played the role of grandfather for many neighborhood children.

Assigned to the Southern District, Murdock retired after nearly three decades in the Police Department, then worked as a security officer for the National Security Agency for more than 18 years and, later, as a master plumber.

He helped neighbors with plumbing problems, drove senior citizens on daily errands, and also had volunteered at the Central Rosemont Recreation Center to create the "Sugar and Spice Beauty Pageant" for local children in recent years.

"They weren't just your neighbors," said McAfee's mother, Vada McAfee, 42. "They became our family members. Pop was always helping people. It's really, really just a great loss."

Murdock's death left many concerned for their safety in the normally quiet neighborhood, which has many elderly residents.

"This entire block is mostly people who moved here when my father did," said Dorolie Murdock Sewell, 52, the retired officer's daughter. "They're left unprotected. My father would be very worried about that. He tried to look after everybody."

The Fraternal Order of Police and Metro Crime Stoppers offered a combined $4,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assailants.

"This is a man who put in 27 years in the Police Department and survived the streets," said homicide Detective Homer Pennington, who is leading the investigation. "And then he becomes a victim of a robbery. It's a shame."

In two other shootings Friday:

Two men were wounded, one fatally, in the 100 block of N. Poppleton St. about 5: 30 p.m. by a man who walked up to them and opened fire. One victim, Franswan Opi, 27, was released after hospital treatment. Police said they did not know the name of the other man, who was pronounced dead at Shock Trauma.

Police found Curtis Lamont Haynes, 38, of the 4200 block of Massachusetts Ave. lying wounded about 10: 15 p.m. in the 200 block of McCurley St. in Southwest Baltimore. He had been shot several times and was pronounced dead at Shock Trauma.

Pub Date: 11/29/98

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