A 23-year-old former high school basketball player was gunned down during a West Baltimore robbery Monday, police said, sending a ripple of sadness through the area's basketball community.
The shooting occurred before 10 p.m. in the 1500 block of McKean Ave., and police identified the victim as Brandon Spruill, a former basketball player at Walbrook High School who started for the 2006 state championship team alongside his brother, Rodney, a two-time All-Metro pick.
"RIP to my man Brandon Spruill," tweeted Kim English, an area basketball standout who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons last month. "Sad news, praying for his brother Rodney and the rest of his family."
Police said Spruill, who also played a season at St. Frances Academy, was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, shot in the back of the head after being ordered to his knees. Spruill was pronounced dead at the scene.
Col. Garnell Green, the commander of the city's homicide section, said Spruill and three others were standing on the corner when two males approached and announced a robbery. After taking various items from them, Spruill, whose hands were on the back of his head, was shot from behind. The other victims were unharmed, Green said, though police have been unable to locate one of them.
"There was some property taken that we recovered, and we're still trying to piece it together," Green said. "We have some leads right now."
Kelvin Bridgers, the former Walbrook coach for whom both Spruill brothers played, said Brandon Spruill was an unselfish player who could be counted on to make a clutch shot but also to lead by example.
"Guys come up with all kinds of ways to bring attention to himself, but I would say Brandon Spruill brought attention to himself by demonstrating character and leadership," Bridgers said. "He was always doing positive things, always had a job, and worked to earn his keep. It's a tragedy, and I'm just crushed by it."
Bridgers said Brandon attended and played basketball at Harford Community College after high school, and had a young daughter. His mother died last year, Bridgers said.
"I'm really hurt that Brandon is gone, but my pain is even deeper for Rodney. To lose your mother, and then turn around and lose your brother, who's doing the right things ... it's just unfortunate, the community you live in — it's careless children making bad decisions."
Spruill's shooting was one of at least three serious incidents police were investigating Monday night.
Earlier, around 5 p.m., police were called to the 5100 block of Reisterstown Road in the Woodmere neighborhood of Northwest Baltimore for reports of a man who had been stabbed. They found the victim lying in the street with a wound to the chest.
Investigators said the unidentified victim had been talking to three suspects at a convenience store in the same block, when one of them stabbed him. The victim then walked into the street, collapsed and was run over by an SUV. The incident closed Reisterstown Road for a brief time, police said. The victim remains in critical condition at an area hospital, police said.
About 11 p.m., officers were called to the 700 block of East Preston Street in the Johnston Square neighborhood of East Baltimore. They found a 27-year-old man who had been shot in the leg. He is being treated at an area hospital for injuries that are not life-threatening, police said.