Man, 22, fatally shot after fight at nightclub

Annapolis Gardens killing is city's third of year

April 13, 1999|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

A 22-year-old Severn man was fatally shot early yesterday while standing near the front stoop of his girlfriend's duplex in an Annapolis public housing community after an altercation at a nearby nightclub, city police said.

Byron Antoine Jones, of the 8200 block of Autumn Lake Court, was lying on the ground in the 200 block of Croll Drive near death when paramedics arrived just after 2: 52 a.m., when Annapolis City Police were called. He was dead by the time detectives arrived at 3: 15 a.m., said Detective Sgt. Joseph Gruver, supervisor of the Criminal Investigations Section.

Police did not identify Jones' girlfriend.

Gruver said Jones was involved "in some kind of argument" earlier in the evening at Club Hollywood in Parole. "We're still looking for witnesses, and we're talking to people at the club and people they came into contact with during the evening," Gruver said.

Police said Jones died of multiple gunshot wounds to his upper torso. He had been shot as his girlfriend stood either in or just outside the doorway to her duplex, Gruver said.

An unidentified male wearing dark clothing was seen running from the area toward Bowman Drive after the shooting, police said. Police recovered a handgun near Jones' body.

Gruver said police knew of no motive for the shooting and are continuing to investigate.

Jones' death was the city's third homicide this year -- an increase from 1997 and 1998, which saw one killing each year. He was killled in a public housing community in which police, the Annapolis Housing Authority and neighborhood leaders have been working with residents for months to fight drug use and improve safety.

"The people that were out [at the scene] last night in the community were saddened by this," said Lt. Robert E. Beans Sr., the Annapolis City Police crime prevention coordinator who has been working with community leaders for two months. "They'd been trying so hard to get the community to work together to make changes. I'm just hoping that something like this does not cause any members of the community to feel that the program is not working, because it is working."

Beans said the shooting did not occur in an area the program has targeted. He said residents of Annapolis Gardens, where the shooting occurred, have cooperated with police since the program began, reporting suspected drug dealers and buyers. Most of those involved in drug transactions in Annapolis Gardens are people from outside the community, he said.

Joyce Hunt, who represents Annapolis Gardens on the Annapolis Housing Authority resident advisory board, said residents are concerned about the homicide but feel a "teeny bit of relief" that Jones was not from their neighborhood and so his death is not a symbolic setback to their efforts to clean up the streets.

"Unfortunately, there's death. Someone lost their life, and that's a sad thing," Hunt said. "But the reality and the truth of the matter is that it did not start in our community. The person that was murdered was not from this community. Even so, all today, the thing that kept going through my mind was that someone's child didn't get to go home last night."

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