Soldier on leave from Afghanistan killed in Baltimore

Police clarify Tuesday that wife was not with solider when shooting occurred

December 22, 2009|By Justin Fenton | justin.fenton@baltsun.com

A soldier on leave from Afghanistan was shot and killed in Baltimore while on the way back from a grocery store Sunday, according to police.

Clifford Jamar Williams, 22, a private stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., was driving alone when a gunman approached his vehicle and fired several rounds into the driver's side of his 2004 Acura SUV, according to Anthony Guglielmi, the Police Department's chief spokesman.

Police had no suspects or a motive in the shooting. Williams enlisted in the Army in February 2008 and was deployed in April to Afghanistan, where he performed maintenance on planes, an Army spokesman told the Associated Press. He had taken 15 days of leave to go home for the holidays.

"It's a very, very sad case," said Lt. Col. Nathan M. Banks, an Army spokesman. "We always expect to be killed over there. When we come home to American soil, this is rare."

Williams was shot in the upper body and continued driving until he stopped the vehicle in the middle of the road, not far from his home. Police located the vehicle in the 600 block of S. Wickham St., in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood of Beechfield.

Police said Tuesday that they incorrectly said Williams' wife was riding with him in the vehicle when the shots rang out. He was alone, and flagged down a passerby, who called 911. Detectives have confirmed through surveillance footage that he was at the grocery store prior to the shooting.

He was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. Monday.

It was not clear what, if anything, provoked the shooting, and police were working to determine the precise location of the crime scene, made difficult by the heavy snow accumulation.

Williams was to have turned 23 years old on Dec. 26, and his deployment would have ended in April.

"He had a clean criminal record, and there is no evidence at this point to suggest that he was involved in any nefarious activity," Guglielmi said.

No one answered the door at a home listed as Williams' last known address, and officials at the military station where Williams was recruited said they were not authorized to comment.

"His job is crucial. It takes a while to train and bring up a person to do the type of job that he did," Banks said. "When this happens, the ripple effect goes back to the theater, because now we're missing one person that is not coming back."

The Army's Criminal Investigation Division will not play an active role in the investigation but will assist Baltimore police with information about the soldier as needed, Banks said.

Police asked anyone with information to call the homicide division at 410-396-2100.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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