Canton murder a 'sobering' reminder

Body found on street in usually quiet neighborhood amid a spate of violence elsewhere in the city

December 25, 2008|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

When Jon Meyer and his fiancee moved to Baltimore a year and a half ago from Annapolis, they figured their Canton rowhouse was far removed from the city's violence. But he said the orange chalk scrawled in a gutter across from his home - reading "head" and "foot," marking where a body was found Tuesday night - served as a startling wake-up call.

"It's very, very unusual for there to be any kind of crime around here," said Meyer, 61. "To have a murder take place on your street, it's very sobering."

Few details were available about the shooting yesterday. Police said a 22-year-old woman was found about 9:30 p.m. in the 800 block of S. Bouldin St. with gunshot wounds to the head. Witnesses reported hearing shots and seeing a dark-colored vehicle leave the scene. A police source said the woman might have been pushed from the vehicle.

"I heard three shots, but it sounded like it was farther away," said Arthur Smith, 76, who has lived in the neighborhood for 45 years. "Things aren't too bad down here, but it makes you a little nervous."

The homicide took place six blocks from the Inner Harbor and around the corner from a development where a banner says the price of new homes will start at $499,000. Records maintained by The Baltimore Sun show that there had not been a homicide in the area in at least two years.

The shooting was just the most recent incident in a flurry of violence in recent days in Baltimore.

Earlier Tuesday night, police said, Ronald Comer Hall, 46, was shot in the chest after he was approached by two men while walking near his home in the Broadway East area of East Baltimore. In contrast to the relative tranquillity of Canton, Broadway East has experienced the most killings of any city neighborhood this year. Hall was the 12th homicide victim there in 2008.

Court records show that Hall was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with all but four years suspended, in January 2003 after pleading guilty to drug conspiracy charges in Baltimore Circuit Court. The city initiated court proceedings to seize three of his vehicles, according to records.

A relative said yesterday that Hall, a father of two, owned an appliance store and had left his past behind. The shooting occurred as he was returning home from work about 6:30 p.m.

"It was a senseless killing," said the relative, who did not want to be identified, and who said Hall's wife was too distraught to speak with a reporter. "His life had turned completely around, and we were very proud of him as a husband and a father. He was another man doing well for society."

Police were also investigating a shooting that occurred about 3 p.m. yesterday in the 2900 block of Edmondson Ave., in southwest Baltimore. Police said a man, 39, was standing outside Edmondson Discount Mart when someone shot him in the neck and back. He staggered into the store and collapsed on the floor. He was reported in critical condition last night at an area hospital. Homicide detectives are investigating the shooting.

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