Police gun linked to Nov. killing

Stolen weapon used to shoot former officer

`Front-burner case'

2 suspects arrested

loaded Glock found in one man's home

May 15, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A gun used in the robbery and fatal shooting of a retired Baltimore police officer in November was stolen from another city officer and may have been used in other crimes, department officials said yesterday.

Detectives said ballistics tests show that a department-issued 9 mm Glock handgun was used to shoot a Housing Authority officer during a holdup of a fast-food restaurant and is possibly linked to a second homicide.

Police made the discovery Thursday night after they arrested two men in the Nov. 27 shooting of retired Officer Oliver T. Murdock, 73, and said they found the loaded police weapon in a suspect's dresser drawer.

"This has been a front-burner case since it occurred," said Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier. "Officer Murdock's years of excellent service makes it even more ironic that the murder weapon was stolen from a police officer."

Police charged Christopher Williams, 27, of the 300 block of S. Ballou Court in Southeast Baltimore, and Kevin Blackmon, 21, of the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Ave., with first-degree murder, attempted murder and armed robbery yesterday.

The suspects, arrested at their homes, were ordered held without bail at the Central Booking and Intake Center pending a District Court hearing Monday. Williams' criminal record includes a 1989 armed robbery conviction. Court records show no adult arrest record for Blackmon.

No defense lawyers have been assigned to the cases, and relatives of the suspects could not be reached yesterday. A man who identified himself as an in-law of Williams' said he knew nothing of the case.

Murdock was one of the 314 homicide victims last year in Baltimore, making the city the fourth deadliest per-capita in the nation. His death angered his neighbors in West Baltimore's Rosemont community and sparked vigils in his memory.

At one such service in December, Murdock's adult son, Tomez, called his father's death "a sad moment for us, a trying time for the city."

The Rev. Willie Ray, founder of Save Another Youth Inc. and leader of anti-violence rallies across Baltimore, has bought a rowhouse on Harlem Avenue in Rosemont and is turning it into a haven for people to escape gunfire. It will be named in Murdock's honor.

Ray described the former 26-year police veteran, who served two tours in Vietnam, as an ideal officer and role model. He said he was at Murdock's house a few days after the funeral and watched a young officer chase down and slam a pregnant woman into the ground.

"I came out and said, `You don't do this,' " Ray told the officer, pointing to a picture of Murdock pasted to a light pole. " `You see this man here? He was the exact opposite of you.' "

Murdock was born and raised in Baltimore and moved to the 2500 block of Riggs Ave. 46 years ago. He volunteered for his local community association and played the role of grandfather for neighborhood children.

After retiring from the Police Department more than two decades ago, he was a security guard for the National Security Agency and later a master plumber. He drove senior citizens on daily errands and helped create the Sugar and Spice Beauty Pageant for children.

He was shot after returning home with his wife, Katherine, 73, about 9: 50 p.m. Nov. 27. Investigators said he had just stepped out his car when he was confronted by two men who demanded money, then shot him during a brief scuffle in which family members said $20 was taken.

Police said Murdock fired one round from his revolver but missed.

"He was a tough guy," Ray said yesterday. "He didn't take no guff from nobody, but he could hold a gentle baby in his arms."

The gun police said was used in the killing had been assigned to Southern District Officer Helena Mills. Police said that on Nov. 9, she confronted two men who appeared ready to rob a McDonald's restaurant in the 700 block of Washington Blvd. and was held up at gunpoint and forced to turn over her service weapon. She was in uniform at the time.

Detectives had sought the public's help in retrieving the gun, hoping to keep it out of the hands of criminals.

On Nov. 13, police said, Housing Authority Officer Erich Slaughter was shot in the leg during a holdup at a Wendy's restaurant in the 900 block of McCulloh St. Police said they have linked that shooting to the gun stolen from Mills.

Police say Murdock was shot with the same gun Nov. 27. Detectives said yesterday that they believe the gun has been used in numerous robberies of fast-food restaurants and people, and possibly in another killing.

Detectives would not divulge more details of the incidents but said they do not think police officers were singled out for attacks.

"We believe they were opportunists," said Detective Homer Pennington of the homicide unit.

Pennington said ballistics tests of shell casings and bullets recovered from Murdock and Slaughter showed they had been fired from the same gun. They said tips led police to the two suspects.

The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and heavily armed members of the department's Quick Response Team arrested Williams and Blackmon Thursday night. Pennington said the loaded gun was found in a dresser drawer in Williams' apartment in the Perkins Homes public housing complex three blocks west of Fells Point.

Police said this case stands out from others because of Murdock and the impact he had on his community. He protected his city for a quarter-century, detectives said, only to be killed in a street robbery for a few dollars.

"We worked very hard on this case from the beginning, not just because the victim was a police officer, but because he was an outstanding member of the community," said Lt. Timothy Keel of the homicide unit. "It is extremely unfortunate that he was singled out and murdered."

Pub Date: 5/15/99

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