Three weeks after release from jail, suspect is charged with murder

Body found in van in Westport area of South Baltimore, police say.

A Baltimore man who was released from jail three weeks ago when attempted-murder charges against him were dropped was arrested Wednesday and charged with fatally shooting a man in Reservoir Hill.

Police were in the 900 block of Whitelock St. about 12:10 a.m. Wednesday when they heard gunshots and saw a man leaning over another man, then saw a muzzle flash. A 51-year-old man, who was not identified, was found in a field shot in the head and body.

Officers pursued the gunman and called out a description. A short time later, Cleveland Jones, 26, was arrested after boarding an MTA bus on West North Avenue. Police said Jones matched the description of the shooter, and police found a loaded 9 mm handgun in a nearby alley. He was later charged with murder.

Jones had been charged in November with shooting a man several times in the face in the 1200 block of Ashburton St. Court records show the charges were dropped July 25.

The state's attorney's office said in a statement that the witnesses were uncooperative, could not be located and failed to appear in court. "Unfortunately this case could not be proven without the testimony of the uncooperative and missing witnesses and thus we had no other choice but to dismiss the charges," the statement said.

That case was not the first time Jones had been charged in a shooting. In March 2014, he was charged with fatally shooting 27-year-old Christopher Samuels in the first block of N. Wheeler Ave.

Records show Jones had a one-day bench trial, with Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams finding him not guilty of all charges. Records show a witness had failed to cooperate with prosecutors and was arrested and held without bail to ensure her appearance in court.

Before that, in 2011, Jones was charged with attempted murder. Court records show he had run into a home in the first block of N. Wheeler Ave. during a fight among several people. He allegedly emerged with a handgun that jammed when he attempted to fire it at two men.

All charges in that case were dropped as well.

Jones was a shooting victim at least once, in 2008, when he and two others were shot leaving the China Room near the Inner Harbor. One of the other victims from that incident, Carrington McNutt, was fatally stabbed in 2010 during a melee at a Walbrook High School reunion party in Cherry Hill that left seven others injured.

The Whitelock Street shooting was one of three being investigated by homicide detectives.

A man was listed in critical condition after being shot in the head in the West Side Shopping Center in Southwest Baltimore on Tuesday night about 10:15. The victim was found in the driver's seat of a 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

Then on Wednesday morning, about 6:30 a.m., Maryland Transit Administration officers found a man shot to death inside a minivan in the 2200 block of Kloman St. in Westport near the light rail tracks.

Homicide detectives are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 410-396-2100 or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.

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