Apartment manager shot by tenant dies

Woman wounded Dec. 8 by elderly resident angry over $10 rent increase

December 30, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A 50-year-old apartment complex manager who was shot this month by an enraged elderly tenant has died of her wounds, Baltimore police said yesterday.

Stephanie Gilliam was shot Dec. 8 by a 78-year-old tenant upset about a $10 increase in his rent at a senior citizen apartment complex in Baltimore. The tenant, Cephus Smith, was shot and killed by officers after they failed to subdue him with high-voltage shocks from a Taser gun, police said.

Gilliam was initially treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital and transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital, where she died about 2:45 a.m. Sunday. The state medical examiner has ruled her death a homicide, police said.

The slain apartment manager, who lived in the 1800 block of E. Federal St., was recalled by family members and a city councilman as a community organizer dedicated to rehabilitating the blighted Pennsylvania Avenue area.

Hoping to restore the community to a hub of commerce and night life, Gilliam served as president of the Pennsylvania Avenue Committee, an organization that focused on reviving the neighborhood. She also helped stage the avenue's annual Father's Day Cadillac Parade.

"She was one of Baltimore's greatest citizens," said Gilliam's husband, George Gilliam. "She was one of the greatest people you would ever want to meet. ... We were trying to preserve a legacy. We were trying to do work that would make it a better community so others would know that great African-Americans came from that area."

City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. said he admired Gilliam because she never hesitated to voice her opinion on any issue, especially those affecting Pennsylvania Avenue.

"She was always leading - along with her husband - the fight for the revitalization of Pennsylvania Avenue," Mitchell said.

Born in Baltimore, Gilliam graduated from Edmondson High School in 1971. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park before returning to Baltimore. She operated a helicopter tour of the city, worked as a concierge for the Hyatt Regency downtown and most recently served as a manager of the Oliver Plaza apartment complex at 1401 E. Oliver St., her husband said.

Married in 1986, Gilliam and her husband raised three children, including one who was fatally shot in the Pennsylvania Avenue area in 1994. That death helped motivate Gilliam in her community restoration efforts, her husband said.

In an unrelated killing, police released yesterday the identity of a 29-year-old man who was found shot to death in a car in the 4300 block of Pimlico Road on Saturday night. Shawn Gott of the 4200 block of Towanda Ave. was found shot to death about 9 p.m.

Police also reported yesterday that a 44-year-old man found dead in an apartment complex in the first block of W. 20th St. on Saturday afternoon was stabbed to death. Police withheld the man's name pending the notification of family members.

The deaths pushed the city's homicide tally for the year to 268 - 15 more than all of last year.

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