Double killing raises unease

Drugs, thefts have been problems in commercial area

May 03, 2006|By NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON | NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON,SUN REPORTER

Stacey Macklin said she is used to seeing police cars on the street in front of her Linthicum home. So when two men were fatally shot Saturday afternoon about 20 yards from her backyard, she was not surprised.

Macklin, who has lived in the area for four years, said the brazen double homicide has made her think about moving.

"Ask me why I'm here, I don't know," said Macklin, 39, a hairdresser. "I want to build a wall up as high as possible around my house. Maybe then I'd feel safe."

Anne Arundel County police said yesterday that they have no leads or suspects in the shootings of the men, Rodreco Deonta Murray, 27, of Glen Burnie and Lawrence Jerome Forrester, 29, of no fixed address.

Both had been shot in the upper body.

The shots were fired after 2 p.m. behind a carpet store at 5199 Raynor Ave. Businesses were open and children were outside. One of the men was found in a vehicle, the other on the ground near the car. Police declined to comment on a possible motive for the shooting. Salespeople at Carpet Liquidators could not hear the shots over the din of forklifts, said Gregory Hines, the store's operations manager. But Macklin said she heard at least three shots through her open back window.

"It happened quick. It was one-two-three," she said. "All the kids were outside and I screamed for them to go inside."

A witness reported seeing a cream- or tan-colored sport utility vehicle, possibly a Cadillac Escalade, leaving the scene after the shooting, police said. But detectives are unsure whether the vehicle is related to the shooting and continue to look for information. Police said they have checked the area for security cameras but declined to comment on what they learned.

According to court records, both Forrester and Murray had drug arrests dating to 1995. Forrester was due in court May 11 to face charges of drug possession with intent to distribute and resisting arrest.

Arundel police Lt. David Waltemeyer said the area where the victims were found is frequented by people who don't live there.

Fast-food restaurants, gas stations and a Motel 6 are among the businesses that make up the commercial area, which is just off the Baltimore Beltway.

A row of about a dozen single-story homes sits behind the motel. Waltemeyer called the area "transient ... and ripe for criminal activity." Occasionally, businesses have been burglarized and people have been robbed, he said. Narcotics officers are routinely in the area.

"We have experienced problems with drug distribution and activity in that area," Waltemeyer said. "We have a strong emphasis on traffic stops, and we conduct a lot of field interviews with people that are loitering."

Residents, who declined to give their names, said the Motel 6 seemed to attract suspicious activity.

Motel 6 representatives declined to comment, but Waltemeyer said police and the motel's management cooperate.

"I don't want to zero in on Motel 6," he said. "We have to be vigilant and we keep an eye on the parking lots at Motel 6. They work with us."

The midday double homicide prompted some to step up security measures.

Hines said Carpet Liquidators plans to install security cameras in the back where the victims were found.

"We've been here a long time, and we never had anything weird like that happen," he said. "It's tragic."

Saturday's shooting represented the second and third homicides this year in the county outside of Annapolis.

nia.henderson@baltsun.com

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