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Family, police seek answers in carryout killing

If it's true that what goes around comes around, Crystal Jenkins Jones says she now knows that better than most.

Last year, she says, her cousin was one of two people who shot and killed a 72-year-old security guard picking up Chinese food at a carryout on Greenmount Avenue. And on Monday night, Jones' 52-year-old husband, Freddie, was slain in a robbery at the same place.

"The death last year happened from a family member of mine," Jones, 43, said Wednesday, standing in a nearby parking lot. "It'll come back to you if somebody takes a life from someone, and it just so happened a life was taken from me."

Baltimore homicide detectives canvassed the Better Waverly, Harwood and Abell neighborhoods of North Baltimore on Wednesday morning in hopes of drumming up tips in the killing of Freddie Jones Jr., an Army veteran and shuttle-bus driver at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Surveillance video from the Yau Brothers carryout shows Jones talking on a cell phone at about 6:30 p.m. when three masked men, one of them wearing a Santa Claus hat, came inside and demanded money. Police say a second man was able to rush out, but Jones was shot multiple times in the chest when he fought back.

Detectives are also seeking the identity of the man who escaped the robbery.

Detective James Lloyd said the killing was "senseless" and asked anyone with information to call police at 410-396-2100, or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP. A cash reward of up to $2,000 is being offered for information leading to an indictment.

Freddie Jones was a city bus driver until he became ill due to complications from diabetes, said his niece, Yolanda Autry. She said he loved to drive, and got a job operating a shuttle bus at BWI when he was healthy enough to resume working.

Autry said her uncle was a practical joker and a caring man who was a fixture at family functions. He lived in the 900 block of Belgian Ave. He frequented the area around Yau Brothers, where he often stopped to get food on his way home from work, and was a regular at a barber shop there.

"I don't think he had a fear of being around here," she said. "He's been in that carryout lots of times."

The killing was the fourth to occur inside Yau Brothers in the past three years, following a triple-shooting that killed two in March 2009 and the slaying in April 2010 of Charles Bowman, a security guard for The Afro American. Two men were convicted in that killing, including Michael Hunter, whom Jones identified as her cousin.

Some politicians, including City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and Del. Mary L. Washington, are questioning whether the carryout, in the 2900 block of Greenmount Ave., should be allowed to remain open. A man who answered the phone there said he did not speak English.

Crystal Jones said she has eaten there every Friday. But she also referred to it as a "death trap" and said young people in the neighborhood terrorize its customers. When she and her husband visited, she said she'd stay in the car with the doors locked while he picked up the phoned-in order.

Young people "come home from school and hang right there," she said. "You cannot walk past them. They'll watch you and come up behind you."

Crystal Jones said she and her husband were living apart, but had been married 19 years and were planning to renew their vows for their 20th anniversary.

"My husband was a genuine man. They took a good man," she said. "It's just senseless how people do not have any value for one's life. There's got to be a stop to it."

justin.fenton@baltsun.com


Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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