Man arrested in killing of security guard

March 10, 2010|By Justin Fenton and Peter Hermann | Baltimore Sun reporters

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in the killing of a Bank of America security guard in downtown Baltimore last month, police said.

Eric Rose, whose last known address was in the 1000 block of 33rd St., was taken into custody Tuesday by members of the Warrant Apprehension Task Force on a warrant charging him with murder, police said.

Police said the victim, James E. Ball Sr., 38, tried to quell a dispute over a woman between two men who had left a nightclub.

Relatives and friends of the victim first learned of the arrest from a reporter. "This is a relief," said Ball's brother, Austin, speaking from the family home in northwestern Baltimore County. He said he never heard of the suspect named by police and that Ball's family is doing as well as could be expected.

"We're just trying to take one day at a time," he said.

Ball's 70-year-old mother, Sarah, said an arrest doesn't bring her son back, but she added, "It helps. We're just living day by day."

On Feb. 20, Ball, a father of two, was working his second job of the day as a security guard outside the Bank of America building at 10 Light St. near the Inner Harbor. About 2 a.m., a man and his girlfriend walked by. The woman went to the couple's car; the man paused to chat with Ball, who was a friend.

Police said a group of men approached the car and made unwanted advances toward the woman. Ball and his friend intervened. One man in the group pulled out a handgun and fired nine times, aiming at Ball's friend, police said. The friend escaped unscathed, but two bullets hit Ball.

Court records show Rose was convicted in September 2006 on charges of armed robbery and received eight years in prison with all but two years suspended. After his release from prison, he was placed on three years of supervised probation. It was not immediately clear how detectives determined Rose was the suspect.

Ball had remained close with his family and the friends he made growing up on Fulton Avenue in West Baltimore, where a small cadre of young boys formed a bond and vowed to stick together, stay out of trouble and be good fathers for their children. Ball and one of his best friends, whom he met at the age of 5, lost their fathers at a young age.

His best friends, Damien Vincent, 38, who lives in Baltimore, and Michael Taylor, 39, who lives in suburban Washington, came to Baltimore after Ball's death to help Ball's girlfriend break the sad news to the couple's two children, 6-year-old James Ball Jr. and 10-month-old Justin.

The friends had vowed to help raise each other's children and that's what Vincent and Taylor have started doing. Taylor, reached at his federal job in Washington, said, "I'm at a loss for words" when told of the arrest.



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