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News Maryland Baltimore Crime Beat

Bus driver killed after saying music was too loud, family says

A bus driver killed in a drive-by shooting this week had called police earlier to report loud music at a nearby home, according to the victim's mother, who believes her son was attacked in retribution.

It was about 11:30 p.m. and Craig Ray's 6 a.m. shift driving a Maryland Transit Administration bus was looming. He asked a neighbor to turn the music down so he could get some sleep. When that didn't happen, he and his girlfriend decided to call police, according to his mother, Deborah Ray.

As he waited near the door of his girlfriend's home early Monday in the 2400 block of Wilgrey Court, a block of adjoining apartments in southern Baltimore's Westport neighborhood, a car drove up, his mother said. A man in the car told her son that he had heard he called the police and shot him, she said, recounting what his girlfriend told her.

Hit in the back, Ray, 34, died about an hour later. Ray's girlfriend, who was in the home at the time of the shooting, declined to be interviewed.

Police also declined to comment, citing the continuing investigation.

"It's another senseless killing," Deborah Ray said. "It's just another senseless killing."

Craig Ray, whose family called him "Li'l Craig" because he shared his father's name, was a Baltimore native who grew up playing Pop Warner football. He graduated from Edmondson-Westside High School in 1997 and worked as a certified mechanic for the Baltimore City Department of Transportation for several years.

Ray also worked for his father's landscaping business before becoming an MTA driver about five years ago. MTA officials said Ray worked as a substitute driver who filled in on routes whenever there was an absence or need.

A hard worker all his life, Deborah Ray said, her son delivered newspapers and worked for his father as a child. He was taking a few community college classes, enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews, and planned to start his own family soon, his mother said.

On Monday morning, homicide detectives summoned a SWAT team to the apartment complex where Ray was killed, an operation that police termed a "follow-up investigation."

Ray called for witnesses to come forward to help identify or locate the shooter.

"If we don't talk about it, how will people know?" she asked. "If anybody has any information, anybody, come forward."

While the family grieves, Deborah Ray said she also empathizes with the shooter's family. She said she recognizes how such violence tears families apart.

"I'm praying for whoever did this because that's a grieving mother also," she said. "We're grieving over the death of a child, but that mother is also grieving over what that child has done."

A viewing for Ray will be held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home, 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown. A church service will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ, 1063 W. Fayette St., in Baltimore. The service will be followed by Ray's funeral, Deborah Ray said.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justingeorge

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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