Bank of America guard killed in downtown shooting

February 20, 2010|By Peter Hermann | peter.hermann@baltsun.com

A security guard working an overnight shift at the Bank of America building in downtown Baltimore was shot and killed early Saturday when police said he tried to quell a dispute over a girl that erupted between a friend and several other men who had just left a nightclub.

Police identified the guard as James Ball, 38, of Randallstown. He had worked for Wakenhut, a private security company hired by the building's owners. He died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center shortly after being shot twice, at least once in the chest, according to police.

The shooting occurred a few minutes after 2 a.m. as patrons were leaving clubs scattered around the downtown.

Extra police typically patrol the area during these hours because of the large, boisterous crowds. Last year, a series of violent robberies and shootings at and around the Inner Harbor and in Mount Vernon and Mid-Town Belvedere raised questions about safety.

Baltimore police chief spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said a 25-year-old man and his girlfriend had just left a downtown club, which he refused to identify, and were walking to their car parked near the bank at 10 Light St.

The woman went to the car, and the man stopped to chat with Ball, with whom he was friends, just at the bank entrance. As they talked, a group of men approached the car "and made advances toward the female," Guglielmi said.

Ball and his friend walked to the car and argued with the men, but the exchange escalated, the spokesman said. "The security guard tired to mediate the dispute," Guglielmi added.

Police said one of the men in the group went to his car, returned with a handgun and fired as many as nine shots. Guglielmi said detectives believe the gunman was firing at the 25-year-old man, but missed him and hit the security guard instead. Ball was not armed; police had previously said he worked for Bank of America but then said he was employed by the Florida-based security company.

Guglielmi said that Ball's friend and girlfriend are cooperating with homicide detectives. He said police have no suspects or people of interest in custody, but investigators are reviewing surveillance tapes from Citiwatch cameras and private cameras at the bank.

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