A Maryland Transit Administration bus driver was identified as the man fatally shot early Monday morning in southern Baltimore.

Police said Craig Ray Jr. was found lying on the ground, shot in the back, at 12:07 a.m. in the 2400 block of Wilgrey Court, a complex of rectangular apartment buildings in the Westport neighborhood. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead almost an hour later.

An MTA official confirmed that Ray, 34, worked as a bus driver but the agency did not have more details. Police said he lived on the block where he was killed.

The victim's sister, Tiara Ray, said her brother had been a bus driver for nearly five years and would get up between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. for his daily shifts.

She called him "a family man, a working man."

"He didn't deserve this," Tiara Ray said. "He just wanted to get some sleep for work so he could be at work on time."

She said Ray loved working with machinery and engines, receiving his auto mechanic's certification before graduating from high school. Before he joined the MTA, she said, he worked for Baltimore City in a garage. He was not married and didn't have any children of his own, but she said he was helping raise his girlfriend's children.

"Anybody who knows anything, just come forward," Tiara Ray said. "He was a good man."

Monday morning, at least four Baltimore police officers guarded the roped-off rear parking lot of the apartment complex where Ray was found. A police evidence truck was parked nearby.

No suspects have been announced in the shooting but later in the day homicide detectives returned to the scene with SWAT officers in tow as part of what police called a "follow-up investigation."

About three hours before Ray was found, police officers were called to the 5100 block of Cordelia Ave. in Northwest Baltimore, where they found a man shot in the head lying in the street. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Police were unable to identify him Monday.

Prior to the two homicides, officers found a man shot in the leg at 6:01 p.m. Sunday in the 2100 block of Koko Lane in West Baltimore.

A preliminary investigation revealed that he was walking in the 2000 block of Longwood St. when an unknown suspect in a mask approached, pulled out a handgun and shot him before fleeing. Police have no suspects.

On Monday, they said the victim was treated and at an area hospital and released.

Three city homicides since Friday marked the end to a streak of 10 days without a killing. Nine people have been killed in February, a sharp contrast to the 27 people slain in the city last month.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

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