Man's beating death ruled homicide

Police also seeking clues in fatal shooting of 2 men found in Southeast house

April 17, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The beating death of a 52-year-old West Baltimore father of five has been ruled a homicide. Meanwhile, police detectives were scrambling for answers to the shooting deaths of two men discovered in a rowhouse early yesterday on the other side of the city.

Police said that Benjamin Lewis was walking in the 1700 block of Westwood Ave. in West Baltimore about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday when three young men approached him and began to punch him.

After Lewis fell to the ground, the attackers ran away, police said. Lewis walked to his house about two blocks away in the 1600 block of Bruce Court, where he called 911 for help, according to detectives.

When paramedics arrived, Lewis collapsed, said Detective Sean Jones of the homicide unit. Lewis died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The state medical examiner ruled the death a homicide yesterday, Jones said.

Police released few details about the execution-style killings of two men in a house in the 1900 block of Gough St. in Southeast Baltimore.

About 3 a.m., friends were worried that they had not seen the men in several days and gained entry to the house, police said. They found one man in a bedroom and the other in the living room. Both had been shot in the head, police said.

Police said the men were ages 31 and 22 but declined to release their identities pending notification of relatives.

The three homicides pushed the total number of killings to 80 for the year.

The beating death of Lewis shocked family members who said he was a peaceful man who often mediated disputes and was rarely involved in them.

"He would do anything for anybody," said Sylvia Williams, a sister. "They loved to hear their granddad tell stories, family stories."

Lewis was born and raised in East Baltimore and graduated from Dunbar High School, Williams said. He worked as a mason and as a city public works employee. For the past year, he sold The Sun at Martin Luther King and Washington boulevards.

Anyone with information about the homicides is urged to call city detectives at 410-396-2100.

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