Homicide victim was in `puzzling' location

Man found dead in lot didn't like being in city

November 03, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Thomas B. Settle III drove to Northwest Baltimore just after midnight Oct. 13 to pick up his parents after a bus trip to Atlantic City, but they already had a ride and sent him on his way.

About an hour later, Settle was found fatally shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Southwest Baltimore, six miles from where he met his parents at Reisterstown Road and Rogers Avenue.

Despite his best efforts, veteran homicide Detective Chris Bieling says he hasn't been able to determine what happened in those final minutes to Settle, a Randallstown resident, on his 21st birthday. Settle had no arrest record, and family members said he avoided trouble.

"He didn't cause any fights," Bieling said. "He didn't like traveling in the city by himself. What's he doing in the city? I have no idea."

Settle was found about 1:30 a.m. -- shot at least twice in a parking lot in the 400 block of Colleen Road a few feet from his car, a blue Chevrolet Malibu.

His parents and police have no idea why he drove to the Southwest Baltimore apartment complex. They say they do not believe he was a robbery victim.

His father, Thomas B. Settle Jr., thinks his son might have been giving someone a ride. His son didn't like spending time in the city and usually hung out with friends in Baltimore County, said Bieling and the parents. "He doesn't know anybody over there," the father said. "The whole situation is puzzling."

That morning, the younger Settle was supposed to get up early and drive his girlfriend to work and later celebrate his 21st birthday at a dinner with family and friends. He was living with his parents in the first block of Willowbrook Court in Randallstown and was a 2000 graduate of Randallstown High School.

He had been working at his grandmother's restaurant, Shug's Restaurant and Carryout on Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, and was studying at a trade school to work on air conditioners and refrigerators. He was known by family members as the "gentle giant" because he was 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 240 pounds, and had a lighted-hearted attitude.

Anyone with information about Settle's death is urged to call Bieling at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers, which is offering a reward of as much as $2,000 for any information leading to an arrest and indictment, at 410-276- 8888.

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