Woman killed after giving money to panhandler in Baltimore was engineer who had been out dancing with husband

bal-woman-fatally-stabbed-in-baltimore-after-rolling-down-window-to-give-money-to-panhandler-20181204Jacquelyn Smith, 54, of Aberdeen was fatally stabbed early Saturday in Baltimore after she rolled down a car window to give money to a panhandler, her husband said.

 

Keith and Jacquelyn Smith danced Friday night at the American Legion on Madison Street in Baltimore, where they had brought his daughter Shavon to celebrate her 28th birthday.

Hours later, about 12:30 a.m., the 52-year-old Harford County man found himself calling 911 and rushing Jacquelyn, 54, to the emergency room. She had been stabbed by a man through their rolled-down car window after giving money to a woman panhandling in the rain in East Baltimore, he said.

Jacquelyn Smith, an electrical engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground, had her necklace and pocketbook snatched by the woman and the man, who approached under the guise of thanking her for giving the woman money, her husband said. She died two hours after they arrived at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he said.

The pair ran away, but the woman paused long enough to say something, Keith Smith said.

“This girl actually said, ‘God bless you’ ” after the man stabbed Jacquelyn, he said.

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Mayor Catherine Pugh told members of the City Council at a working lunch Monday that she had spoken with Keith Smith. The council paused to acknowledge Jacquelyn Smith, among others who have died, in a moment of silence during its Monday meeting.

“You’ve got people who’ve got warm hearts who want to roll down their windows and give to people,” the mayor said. “This incident that occurred this past weekend is unconscionable.”

As Baltimore Police cadets canvassed the Johnston Square neighborhood Monday afternoon near the site of the stabbing — East Chase and Valley streets — interim police Commissioner Gary Tuggle called the killing “a heinous murder.”

Detectives do not yet have any leads on the pair’s identities, he said.

“They’re using this ruse as panhandlers to get the attention of their would-be victims,” Tuggle said. “We also want to caution the public about engaging with panhandlers and recognizing that not all of them have honest intent. Not all of them have real need.”

Keith Smith said the woman appeared to be holding a baby and had a cardboard sign that said “Please Help me feed my Baby.” Although he was reluctant to open the window late at night, he said, his wife held money out from the front passenger seat because she “felt moved to give her some money.”

Smith, who is from Baltimore and whose daughter lives on Valley Street, now wants to get a law passed in his wife’s memory banning panhandling.

The Baltimore City Code already prohibits soliciting money “from any operator or occupant of a motor vehicle that is in traffic on a public street, whether in exchange for cleaning the vehicle’s windows or otherwise.”

“Something needs to be done, because now you don’t know whether or not you’re going to give and this person’s going to take your life or they’re going to say thank you,” Smith said Monday. “There are some desperate people. They don’t need help; they’re trying to hurt you.”

Councilman Robert Stokes, who represents the district where the incident occurred, said the stabbing would deter people from aiding people seeking help — but he acknowledged that keeping people from panhandling would be difficult.

“It’s going to be hard now for people to roll their windows down,” Stokes said. “A lot of people are not going to give.”

Asked what a new police commissioner might be able to do to stop similar violence in the future, Stokes said he wasn’t sure because of the limits placed on police by the federal consent decree.

“How do you move people from off the corners? Maybe the ACLU will come in … so we’ve got to be careful how we do that,” Stokes said. “I think the consent decree has made it very hard. I guess some of the officers feel like they’ve got to be careful how they engage people because they don’t want no lawsuits. They don’t want to get terminated.”

But Stokes said he wasn’t making a direct link between Smith’s stabbing and the consent decree, calling the crime an “isolated incident.”

Kevin Lindamood, president and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless, said he was horrified to hear of the killing and concerned it could further stigmatize homelessness.

“Obviously this is a horrible incident and a crime,” Lindamood said. “As with any crime, we shouldn’t attribute the actions of an individual to an entire group of people. We don’t say that someone from a bank embezzling money means that all bankers are crooked.”

Services planned for Jacquelyn Smith, woman killed in Baltimore after giving money to panhandler »

“The broader realities of homelessness and the conditions that lead people to beg publicly are also tragedies, and I think we have to be very mindful not to lump everybody into a single category,” he added. “Out of a tragedy like this I would encourage us all to redouble our work towards social justice.”

Bishop Roger Tatuem and his wife, Pastor Miriam Tatuem, of the Churchville congregation Helping Hands Ministries, said Jacquelyn and Keith Smith had been members of their church for about four years, and they taught weekly Christian education classes for new members.

They struggled to believe the news that Jacquelyn Smith had been killed.

“She was a very strong lady, very strong personality,” Miriam Tatuem said of the Providence, R.I., native. “If she believed in something, she believed in it — she was one of those kind of people who was ride-or-die.”

Miriam Tatuem said Jacquelyn Smith also volunteered on the church’s hospitality committee, where she would help serve church functions, including lunches after funeral services.

She recalled a time Smith helped Tatuem’s son and daughter-in-law prepare for a housewarming party. When they were running behind, Smith jumped into the kitchen and began helping her daughter-in-law with last-minute needs.

“She was always a good helper. Whatever her little hands found to do, she would do it,” Miriam Tateum said. “She was a very giving person.”

Roger Tatuem said Smith helped him edit his forthcoming book. She gave him feedback throughout the summer to help him strengthen “The Sound of Trouble,” he said.

“She really got me motivated to get on and finish it,” he said.

Tandra Ridgley, an Aberdeen resident and fellow Helping Hands congregant, also knew the Smiths from church. Ridgley described Jacquelyn Smith as faithful and generous, and she recalled the Smiths taking friends out on a large boat they owned.

“I’m just really sorry to see this because she didn’t deserve that,” Ridgley said. “The church — we’re just really heartbroken about it.”

Ridgely said, above all, she’ll remember Jacquelyn Smith’s kindness.

“She was genuinely a sweet lady, she really was, and very encouraging,” she continued. “When my mother passed, she would always tell me, ‘Hang in there.’ ”

Keith Smith scrolled through photos of him and his wife on his phone Monday afternoon — at the dance Friday night, after voting in the recent election, smiling in the Inner Harbor. The couple had celebrated their fourth anniversary in July.

On the night of her death, he said, they again moved to the first song they had danced to at their wedding, John Legend’s “All of Me.”

“My wife was my life,” Smith said.

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Homeless South Beach Artist With No Arms Stabbed a Tourist, Police Say

Jonathan Crenshaw is a well-known homeless street artist in South Beach.

Anyone who’s ever wandered down Lincoln Road has probably seen Jonathan Crenshaw at work. A homeless man with no arms, Crenshaw has spent years in South Beach painting colorful canvases using his feet while tourists circle and gawk at the work.

But early yesterday morning, one of those tourists ended up bleeding on the ground after police say Crenshaw grabbed a pair of scissors with his feet and stabbed the man. Crenshaw told police the man, a Chicago resident, had punched him, but the victim told police he’d only asked for directions before the attack.

Victim of Norwalk assault gets 18 months for not retreating?

Jeffrey Sumpter, of Bridgeport, charged with first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor in Saturday melee at Dunkin Donuts.

STAMFORD — A Bridgeport man who was assaulted by three juveniles while he was at work in Norwalk will have to spend 18 months in jail for stabbing one of the attackers.“I was defending myself,” Jeffrey Sumpter, 21, told Judge John Blawie on Monday morning at the Stamford courthouse when he was sentenced for stabbing one of the males in the leg last October. Blawie told Sumpter that he understood and believed his version of events, but he said he had to follow the letter of the law.Sumpter, dressed in a white prison jumpsuit with short sleeves, did not reply. His public defender Howard Ehring said unlike a state like Florida, which has a law allowing its residents to stand their ground, Connecticut law requires Sumpter to retreat from the beating he was given at the Dunkin’ Donuts where he worked. After being assaulted inside the coffee shop, Sumpter ran outside and stabbed one of the men.Ehring said the fact that a search of one of the men turned up shotgun shells, showed the four were looking to hurt Sumpter. No shotgun was found. Blawie said he hoped this would be Sumpter’s last “bid,” slang for prison sentence, because now that he has been convicted of felony first-degree assault, he will be treated more harshly by the criminal justice system going forward. Sumpter will have to spend three years following his jail sentence on probation, during which time he could be made to serve all or part of a three and one-half year prison sentence if he breaks the law.

Mom stabbed her son after he refused to buy crack for her: cops

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Debra WarrenAlachua County Jail

A Florida woman stabbed her son because he wouldn’t buy her harder drugs than the alcohol she was drinking, police said.

Debra Denise Warren, 58, of Gainesville, stabbed her son in the forearm with a kitchen knife after he refused her request to buy her crack cocaine, according to a police report obtained by the Gainesville Sun.

Warren tried to stab her son again, but he managed to get the knife away from his mother and then waited outside their home for cops to arrive, WCJB reports.

When police responded, Warren said she was afraid of her son, claiming he had slapped her earlier. But police found no evidence to back up her claims. Warren also accused her son and a witness of lying, according to the police report.

Warren was arrested early Friday on charges of aggravated battery. She remains in custody at the Alachua County Jail on $50,000 bail, jail records show.

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Teen accused of killing dad who tried to wake him up!

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Samuel HammettFort Worth Police

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A Texas teen was apparently so opposed to getting out of bed that he killed his dad who tried to wake him, according to reports.

Samuel Hammett, 19, was charged Wednesday with murder in the death of his father at their Fort Worth home, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Family members said the father, Sandy Hammett, tried to rouse his son from bed Tuesday when the teen pulled a knife on him.

“My son said, ‘Why you sleeping all day?’” his grandmother, Alma Hammett, told the newspaper. “My grandson got up and went nose-to-nose with my son. My son pushed my grandson down back on the bed.”

Hammett allegedly grabbed a knife from his drawer and stabbed his dad to death, according to relatives.

Police responded to the home and pronounced the father dead at the scene.

Hammett was taken into custody at Tarrant County Jail where he is being held without bail.

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