Man arrested in shooting

Suspect charged in murder of high school basketball coach

December 28, 2005|By GUS G. SENTEMENTES | GUS G. SENTEMENTES,SUN REPORTER

A man wanted in the fatal shooting in Canton of a popular basketball coach has surrendered to authorities and has been charged with murder, Baltimore police said yesterday.

The Nov. 12 shooting of 33-year-old Brian O'Neil Jones of Millersville, a Northrop Grumman software engineer and father of three - apparently stemming from a random street robbery - had sparked concerns about safety in the Southeast Baltimore waterfront community.

The suspect, Alvin Augustus Williams, 25, of the 6000 block of Marquette Road in Rosedale, Baltimore County, has been charged with first-degree murder, assault and gun offenses, police said. He surrendered Friday after police issued an arrest warrant for him last week.

This is the second time Williams has been arrested and charged with murder. In 1999, Williams was charged in the fatal shooting of a man outside an East Baltimore bar, but prosecutors did not have witnesses or sufficient evidence to indict him, according to the city state's attorney's office.

In last month's killing, Williams is accused of shooting Jones during a brief encounter on a Canton street shortly after the victim and his friend left a bar, police said.

Maj. Richard Fahlteich, commander of the homicide unit, said the gunman got out of a car, exchanged some words with Jones and the friend, and tried to rob them before he started shooting.

Jones and a friend ran away, in different directions, after the man started shooting at them, police said. The friend returned to the scene and cooperated with police and the investigation. Jones was found dead hours later, about 7 a.m., in the parking lot of Canton Harbor Nursing Center in the 1300 block of S. Ellwood Ave. He was shot once in the chest, while his friend was not injured, according to police.

Jones apparently ran about two blocks after he was shot in the 1100 block of S. Ellwood Ave. Police crime lab technicians found four spent bullet casings at the scene of the shooting, according to charging documents.

Fahlteich said that it was not known whether the gunman acted alone the night that Jones was killed. Police identified Williams as the gunman with the help of a witness, according to charging documents.

Fahlteich characterized Jones as a "hardworking man" who did nothing to deserve the random attack. The suspect has prior convictions for violent crime and drug offenses, Fahlteich said.

Williams also has been linked to two other similar robberies in the past two months. Police charging documents show that he faces charges of armed robbery, assault and handgun violations in the Nov. 13 holdup - a day after Jones' killing - of a 22-year-old man in East Baltimore. The victim was robbed of $18, charging documents show.

Williams faces similar charges in an incident Oct. 15, in which he is accused of robbing a woman of her purse at gunpoint as she walked up the steps of her Southeast Baltimore home.

Williams surrendered after police put pressure on family, friends, and associates of the man, according to Fahlteich.

Yesterday, Jones' family said they were still grieving for him, trying to grasp the apparently random and senseless killing, and struggling to get through the holidays without him.

Jones was a junior varsity basketball coach at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Southwest Baltimore, his father, Gerald Jones, said. He had a wife, Kenya, whom he married in 1997, and three young children, Kameron, 5; Kai, 2; and Kolby, 6 months, Gerald Jones said.

He also had a younger brother, Brandon, 25.

"The only thing we're trying to figure out is why," said Gerald Jones, also of Millersville. "Why did he get out of the car and start shooting? For what reason? That kind of puzzles all of us. ... We hope and pray no other family has to go through the loss that we've gone through."

Jones said that the killing of his son just before the holidays this year made this week even more difficult for the entire family.

Bob Flynn, who was the head coach at Cardinal Gibbons before leaving this year to coach at McDaniel College in Westminster, said he used to talk and work with Jones every day. He remembers Jones bringing his son Kameron to Cardinal Gibbons' team basketball practice on Saturdays.

Jones played basketball in college for Tennessee State University. He wanted to "give back" to the community, to share his knowledge of basketball with younger players, Flynn said.

"I miss him so much, it's unbelievable," Flynn said.

gus.sentementes@ baltimoresun.com

Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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