Police probing gang tie to cabdriver's death

Harford investigators try to determine whether shooting was part of a rite

December 14, 2004|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,SUN STAFF

Police investigators are trying to determine whether a taxi driver shot to death in a suburban cul-de-sac last week was the target of a gang rite that involves random killing, police said yesterday.

The gang theory would offer the first clues as to why anyone would kill Derald Howard Guess, 37, a father of nine children and a part-time substitute teacher. Guess was shot in the head in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday after arriving at an Edgewood community to pick up a passenger. He was killed one block from his home.

Witnesses have told police a suspect in the killing belongs to a local gang called the Bloods, said Edward Hopkins, Harford County sheriff's spokesman. He said investigators have not reached a conclusion about the motive.

"The question that still looms is whether this was a gang issue or a robbery gone bad," Hopkins said.

Wayne Lavon Bond Jr., 17, of the 1700 block of Crimson Way in Edgewood was denied bail yesterday in Harford County District Court. He is charged with first-degree murder, which normally carries a maximum sentence of death. But Bond, who was charged as an adult, would receive a maximum of life in prison if convicted because he is under 18, District Judge Lawrence S. Lanahan Jr. said at the bail hearing.

Since moving to the county three years ago, Bond has had numerous run-ins with the juvenile justice system, Diana Brooks, deputy state's attorney for Harford County, told the judge. He has previously been charged with robbery and second-degree assault. The outcome of those charges could not be determined.

Lanahan said Bond is a flight risk.

Charging documents allege that Bond shot Guess after he entered his taxi and that he later discussed the killing with acquaintances. He was arrested Saturday after someone tipped off police, the documents state.

Hopkins said investigators are pursuing many leads.

"Certainly it could have been an issue where he was trying to show how big of a guy he was, how much moxie he had because he shot and killed somebody," Hopkins said." But we have to determine how much of that was fact and fiction."

He added that gangs are less prevalent in Harford County than in other counties surrounding Baltimore and Washington.

"We don't have a huge problem with gangs like you see in Fairfax County, Virginia," Hopkins said. "But we do have a small microcosm of gangs that we do have to be concerned with."

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