4 arrested in Dundalk killing

Police say teens chose victim at random

February 15, 2008|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,sun reporter

Joshua Gibson was walking to a friend's house in Dundalk one night in January when three teenage boys he did not know jumped out of a car, began beating him up and then shot him three times.

The 16-year-old died on the street where he was attacked, half an hour before his 10 p.m. curfew, when his grandparents were to pick him up at the friend's house.

Baltimore County police said yesterday that they have charged three young men from Dundalk in the killing, for which investigators say there was no apparent explanation.

"It was not a robbery. They did not know the victim. It was not gang-related or drug-related," police spokesman Bill Toohey said. "Apparently, they just picked on a stranger for no apparent reason."

Police arrested the three teenagers Wednesday over a 16-hour period and charged them with first-degree murder. They are Robert L. Bragg, 18, of the 1900 block of Dinenn Drive; Robert L. Wood, 19, of the 1700 block of Meath Road; and William R. Ferandes, 17, of the 8100 block of Kavanagh Road, who is suspected of firing the fatal shots.

Police also arrested a 16-year-old girl and charged her as a juvenile with being an accessory after the fact. She is accused of hiding the gun at Ferandes' request, according to charging documents.

Relatives of the victim expressed relief yesterday at the arrests and frustration at the apparent randomness of the crime.

"There was no reason. They did it just because they felt like doing it," said Gibson's aunt, Cindy Gibson, 34, of Dundalk.

She said detectives told her family that the suspects were intent on shooting someone that night.

"It didn't matter who it was, if it was three or four people, an adult or a small child. Someone was to die that night. It just happened to be Josh," Cindy Gibson said.

Police were called at 9:34 p.m. Jan. 28 to Church and Searles roads, near Lynch Cove Park in Dundalk. Joshua Gibson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Interviews led police to Bragg, who told investigators Tuesday that he was driving his Mazda sedan that night with Wood and Ferandes when they saw the victim walking down the street, according to charging documents.

Wood and Ferandes got out of the car and approached the 16-year-old boy. Bragg told police that he had started driving away when he heard three gunshots and that Wood ran frantically up to his car, yelling, "Oh, my God," according to the court documents.

The two youths left together in Bragg's car and met Ferandes at his house, where Ferandes showed them the handgun he used in the shooting and asked the 16-year-old girl to hide it for him, according to the charging documents.

The girl took the gun, which was "later disposed of in a nearby waterway," detectives wrote in the charging documents.

All three male suspects are being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center without bail. The girl, who was not identified because she is charged as a juvenile, was released to her parents' custody to await trial.

Relatives of the victim described him as an easygoing teenager who liked to play video games and hang out at the mall with his friends. He lived with his grandparents, Denny and Peggy Gibson, but remained involved with his mother.

Although Josh Gibson had recently dropped out of Dundalk High School, he was studying for his GED and worked a string of jobs at fast-food restaurants. He hoped to one day earn a living working on cars, Cindy Gibson said.

She said she misses talking to Josh every day and spending time with him, "the things you can never replace," she said.

"He was our pride and joy," Cindy Gibson said. "That's what he meant to us. To them, he was nothing."

jennifer.mcmenamin@ baltsun.com

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