Shooting ends life of a Waverly fixture

Video store killing seen as aberration

September 16, 2006|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,sun reporter

Four carnations lay near the door of the Waverly Blockbuster yesterday - a small goodbye to a neighborhood fixture named Tony, a bear of a man who bragged about his children and chatted with regulars about recent releases and favorite films.

Antonio "Tony" Gilmore, 38, the sales manager, was fatally shot Thursday night in the store on Homestead Street that was once the site of a post office. And for many in this city neighborhood on a slow but steady rebound, the crime was both heartbreaking and out of sync with recent progress.

"Everyone knew him," said James Fuller, 21, who sobbed while talking about Gilmore. "He was a good guy, a real good guy."

Police said two gunmen entered the store about 8:30 p.m. with the intent to rob it. But no new details were provided, including whether anything was stolen. Police officers with dogs were walking the streets and alleys near the store yesterday.

The Waverly Blockbuster, which opened in 2004, is one part of a revitalization effort in the neighborhood, which was once home to Memorial Stadium. Home prices in the area have risen steadily in recent years, thanks in part to a popular farmers' market and new Giant grocery store and YMCA.

Some residents said they worried yesterday that news of the homicide would be overplayed by the news media and potentially overshadow the community's overall progress.

"Everyone likes dirty laundry," said Tom Fannin, who grew up in Waverly and owns two businesses and several properties in the area. "If it's a scratch, then suddenly it's a broken finger."

Yesterday, in living rooms and on porches scattered across the city, Gilmore's extended family gathered to mourn their loss.

"My heart is broken," said Gilmore's brother, Garcia "Gus" Gilmore, a city police detective and 16-year department veteran who is assigned to the Northwestern District.

Relatives said Garcia Gilmore was close to his brother and that he is having an especially difficult time because he is a police officer, someone who protects city residents and their property who now finds himself grieving.

"He's trying to be strong because he's a cop," said Garcia Gilmore's wife, Deborah, who sat crying yesterday in the living room of the townhouse she shares with her husband in Baltimore County. "But this morning, he put his head on my shoulder, and he said, `I need you, I need you to be there for me.'"

Deborah Gilmore described her husband's family as large and loving. She said that her husband and his five siblings remain in close contact and gather often for family birthdays and weddings. A photo of Antonio Gilmore from Garcia and Deborah's 1999 wedding shows him giving a toast, a champagne flute in hand, and dressed in a dark suit and narrow, fashionable eyeglasses.

"He always liked to look good," said Tonya Schofield, 37, of Baltimore, Antonio Gilmore's first wife, whom he married in 1991. Schofield said the two were high school sweethearts and that they stayed together for five years, divorcing in 1996.

She said that her ex-husband and his three brothers and two sisters, one of them his twin, were raised by an aunt and uncle, Willie and Minner Green, who live in the Walbrook section of Baltimore. A string of cars were parked out front of the Greens' large yellow house yesterday, a sign that family had begun to gather. Relatives who came to the door said they were too upset to talk.

Across town, at the rowhouse on Kirk Avenue where Antonio Gilmore lived with his second wife, relatives were also coming together. From behind a screen door, Antonio Gilmore's mother-in-law, Elizabeth Everette, 55, said that her daughter, Janice, 28, was devastated.

"He was a very nice person and a hard worker," said Everette of her son-in-law. "He was a good family man. He worked hard to do all he could."

Everette said that her daughter and Antonio Gilmore have a 7-year-old daughter, Morgan, and that he had two other children - Jazmen, 14, and Brandon, 13 - with his first wife.

She said that he loved his children and spent time with them whenever he could - taking them out to eat pizza or watch a movie. "I just can't believe it," Everette said.

A spokesman for Blockbuster Inc. said that company officials were "deeply saddened" by the death of Gilmore.

Metro Crime Stoppers at 410-276-8888is offering a reward of up to $8,000 for information that leads to the arrest, indictment and conviction of those responsible for the fatal shooting at the video store, city police said.lynn.anderson@baltsun.com

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