Two teens arrested in robbery, fatal shooting of 72-year-old

Shooting shook Waverly neighborhood

suspects have prior arrests for robbery, carjacking

April 22, 2010|By Justin Fenton and Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

Two teenagers were arrested and charged in the fatal shooting of a 72-year-old man at a Waverly carryout, a crime that shook the North Baltimore community and led police to flood the area with extra officers.

Charles Bowman, a Vietnam veteran with sight in only one eye, was shot just after midnight April 8, after he stopped for food on the way to his job as a security guard at the Afro-American newspaper. Maj. Terrence McLarney said detectives quickly started to gather tips that led them to potential witnesses.

"There was general outrage when we were doing our neighborhood canvassing, and a lot of people came forward with information," said McLarney, commander of the homicide unit. "In this case, the victim's reputation definitely helped."

Troy Taylor, 18, of the 2700 block of Fenwick Ave. and Michael Hunter, 19, of the 300 block of E. Belvedere Ave. have been charged with first-degree murder, assault and handgun possession. According to court records, both have faced serious charges in the recent past.

Hunter was charged in October with handgun violations and convicted in December, receiving a two-year sentence. But one year and 10 months of that sentence were suspended, according to court records. In 2007, armed carjacking charges were dropped a month after they were filed.

At the time of Bowman's shooting, Taylor was out of jail on $15,000 bond awaiting trial in May on charges of robbery, assault and car theft, court records show. Details of their cases were not immediately available.

Police say Bowman was shot during a robbery at the Yau Bros. carryout that netted the attackers $13. Two days later, on a sunny afternoon at the busy intersection of E. 33rd Street and Greenmount Avenue, 22-year-old Damon Minor was killed after a fight broke out at a nearby restaurant.

A city councilwoman called for a police "dragnet" through the area, and last weekend city leaders led a "solidarity walk" along Greenmount Avenue. Since the shootings, police have maintained a presence, with squad cars parked or making rounds with lights flashing.

Northern District Maj. Ross Buzzuro said that presence would continue "indefinitely." Asked whether the show of strength was merely pushing potential criminals into side streets, Buzzuro said the department had sent plainclothes and undercover officers into those areas.

McLarney praised Detectives Ray Hunter and Martin Young for their work on the homicide investigation. He said they were aided by patrol officers who reached out to neighborhood contacts as part of the district's saturation coverage.

He said detectives have identified possible suspects in Minor's shooting, but added, "We're not there yet. We need help."

Bowman's family was informed of the arrests Wednesday. Officers from the Warrant Apprehension Task Force picked up Hunter that day, and Taylor, accompanied by his mother, turned himself in Thursday afternoon.

"Right now we are very relieved that they have made an arrest. We just hope the justice system will prevail," said Bowman's stepdaughter, Sandra Van Wright. "I'm glad to hear [the suspects] are off the street."

Van Wright and her brother lived with Bowman, and she said she can still hear his booming voice greeting her after his night shift and as she made breakfast.

"I can't make sense of it …all for a couple of bucks … 72 years," she said. "I don't know what they were thinking. They just wanted some money, and something went wrong."

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