Howard police seek clues in homicide

Columbia man was found shot Friday near stairwell in condominium complex

October 03, 2002|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

Fred Moyer heard three shots Friday night and came out of his Columbia apartment, just in time to see the building's front door swing shut.

Moyer dismissed the noises as a juvenile prank and went back inside. He said he never saw his friend, Edwin Rudolph Aytes, lying fatally wounded at the bottom of the stairwell, out of his line of sight.

"Why would anyone want to kill a guy like Edwin?" Moyer asked this week as he stood one flight of stairs away from a dried pool of Aytes' blood.

That's a question Howard County police as well as friends and co-workers of Aytes are puzzling over six days after his death. Aytes, 49, was fatally shot about 7:30 p.m. in his apartment building at the Shadow Oaks Condominium complex in the 9600 block of White Acre Road in Oakland Mills.

Police say they have no firm leads in the killing and have called a public meeting for 7 o'clock tonight in Oakland Mills Village Center to discuss the crime and to solicit information from the public.

"We have no motive at this point," Chief Wayne Livesay said this week.

That's what makes the crime especially mystifying to Aytes' friends and co-workers at a Columbia-based division of an Atlanta bank called ebank. The Columbia office processes corporate, small business and home equity loans. People remember Aytes as a hard worker who would smile at neighbors, pick up lunch for friends and help Moyer - who had two fractured feet - buy groceries and take him to a doctor.

"He must have been mistaken for someone else," Moyer said. "That's all I can think of. I have no conception of why anyone would do this to such a nice guy."

Aytes' family declined to comment, and details of his life are sketchy. But the few people who knew Aytes and were willing to talk said that he was a private person.

"He was a really friendly guy, but he only had a few friends," Moyer said.

Moyer said he and Aytes had bonded after watching sports together for nearly 10 years. "He was a stinking Yankees fan, but that was the only bad thing about him," said Moyer, who grew up in the Hagerstown area but roots for the Cleveland Indians.

Although Aytes was a private person, he was "one of the most loyal people I've ever met," Moyer said.

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