Hospital worker 'used as a human shield' in gang-related killing, police say

Police arrest two men in Sunday night shooting

  • Maryland Shock Trauma Center worker Brandon Finney, 25, was waiting for a bus downtown late Sunday night when he was "used as a human shield" and killed amid a gang shootout, Baltimore police said.
Maryland Shock Trauma Center worker Brandon Finney, 25, was… (Handout photo, Baltimore…)
September 23, 2014|Jessica Anderson | The Baltimore Sun

A Maryland Shock Trauma Center technician was waiting for a bus home after work Sunday night when he was "used as a human shield" and killed during a gang shooting, Baltimore police said.

Police said Tuesday that they have arrested two members of the Black Guerrilla Family in the death of Brandon Finney, a 25-year-old father who was saving up for his first car.

The intended target — a Bloods gang member, Christopher Camphor, 20— was also killed in the attack, police said.

Finney's death drew dozens — some who barely knew him — for a vigil Tuesday night at the bus stop where he died at Saratoga and North Paca streets.

"No family should go through that," said Larry Stewart, a mourner who said he knew Finney only from seeing him at the bus stop regularly.

Finney was described as an innocent bystander in court documents. A witness told detectives that he "was used as a human shield while the shooting erupted."

Tuesday evening, Finney's stepfather, James Carr, sat at the dining room table of the family's home on Mount Holly Street in West Baltimore and grasped for answers. Grieving relatives streamed into the house.

"It was hard to believe," Carr said of the late-night phone call the family received. "He was just a young man," Carr said. "His life ended too early."

Finney was engaged to be married and had a 15-month-old son, Braylin.

Carr said Finney was taking the bus home after working a night shift at the hospital. His family assumed he was late because he was working overtime.

He was trying to earn extra money, his stepfather said, because he was saving up to buy his first car, a Camaro.

At Tuesday's vigil, Finney's fiancee, Caress Purnell, clung to friends for support and occasionally wiped tears from her eyes.

His co-workers at Shock Trauma, some still wearing surgical caps and pink scrubs with "STC" stamped on the breast pocket, stood quietly among the crowd.

Carr said the family is grateful to the police for making an arrest so quickly. "I don't know how, but I thank them," he said.

Finney's mother, Racquel Carr, said her son did not know Camphor, the other victim.

Police said Camphor was a member of a Bloods gang subset known as the Tree Top Piru.

Suspected BGF members Antwon Morton, 25, and Samuel Rogers, 28, were later arrested and are being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center. No lawyers were listed for the men in electronic court records.

A witness identified the shooter as "Sleepy," whom police were able to identify as Morton using law enforcement databases, the documents said. The witness also identified Morton as the shooter in a photo array.

The same witness told police that another BGF member, Rogers, was upset about an earlier dispute with Bloods members and told others he would take his "pump," or gun, and kill members of the rival gang, the witness told police.

Police say Bloods often wear burgundy to signify their allegiance and that Camphor was wearing burgundy pants at the time of the shooting.

A video of the shooting corroborated the witness statement, police said. Police did not recover a handgun.

Officers found Rogers and Morton walking near Lexington Market shortly after the shooting, police said.

At City Hall Tuesday night, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young called the killing tragic and said all aspects of the criminal justice system needed to get tougher on violent offenders.

"We need to take more cases federal," Young said. "We need to have more foot patrols. This killing has got to stop."

Finney's stepfather said that the family had not heard until Tuesday that Finney was used as a shield, that they had assumed he was struck by a stray bullet.

"It's terrible," he said.

He said his stepson's death speaks to great problems in the city and other places where young men feel they can settle differences with violence.

"We see it on the news every day. Just about every day they are talking about kids getting killed," he said. "They just have no regard for human life. To walk up to a bus stop and shoot everywhere is crazy."

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