Three men slain in Baltimore

Correctional officer who worked at city jail among victims in unrelated incidents

May 26, 2007|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,sun reporter

A longtime Baltimore correctional officer was one of three men killed in separate incidents overnight yesterday.

Lt. Perry Van Brooks, a 23-year correction veteran who has worked at the city's Central Booking and Intake Center since 1997, was shot in the left forearm and in the head at his car behind his Northeast Baltimore home.

Detectives said they believe Brooks might have known his killer, though they did not elaborate.

A grandson found Brooks, 48, dead in the car yesterday morning, police said. Brooks' 2004 Nissan Altima was parked in the rear driveway of his home in the 1900 block of Hillenwood Road.

Barbara Cooper, a spokeswoman for the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, said there are no indications that Brooks' slaying was related to his job.

But Glenard S. Middleton Sr., executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local, which represents correctional officers, issued a statement saying: "If we find that this senseless death is in any way connected to his employment as a corrections officer," the union will "use every resource at its disposal to help bring those responsible to justice."

Cooper called Brooks a "diligent worker" who was well-liked. He worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift on the booking floor, overseeing the detainee release process.

Two other people were killed in the city yesterday.

About 4 a.m. in West Baltimore, firefighters arrived at a burning rowhouse in the 400 block of W. Mosher St. Around the corner, in the 1500 block of McCulloh St., authorities said a man was found suffering from gunshot wounds, a handgun lying near him.

The man was identified as a tenant of the rowhouse, said Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman. He was pronounced dead at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. His name had not been released.

Detectives have preliminarily classified his death as suspicious until an autopsy is completed, Monroe said.

About 6:25 a.m., a man was found fatally stabbed in an alley in the 4000 block of Belvieu Ave. in Northwest Baltimore's West Arlington neighborhood. Emergency crews pronounced the man dead at the scene. His name had not been released.

The spate of violence followed Mayor Sheila Dixon's announcement Thursday that she would increase police officer overtime and move surveillance cameras to areas hit hard by shootings.

Dixon and police had reined in high overtime spending, even as homicides and nonfatal shootings this year have been ahead of last year's pace, and while the department struggles with a shortage of roughly 200 officers.

Not including the three deaths being investigated yesterday, the city has had 114 homicides this year - 10 more than during the same period last year. Through last week, crime statistics show that there were 263 nonfatal shootings, 73 more than last year for the same period.

Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.

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