Downtown Partnership employee, homeless man both charged in downtown stabbing

Downtown Partnership employee, homeless man both charged in downtown stabbing

A Downtown Partnership employee and a homeless man have both been charged with assault in a Thursday morning incident that culminated with the former allegedly stabbing the latter, police said Friday.

Rodriguez Gipson, 38, of the 3100 block of Brendan Avenue, has been charged with first- and second-degree assault and assault with a deadly weapon in the stabbing of Adrian Franklin, 43, of no fixed address, police said. Franklin has been charged with second-degree assault and possession of a deadly weapon with the intent to injure, police said.

A second Downtown Partnership employee who was taken into police custody after the morning stabbing was released without charges, police said.

As of Friday night, Gipson was at Central Booking waiting to see a court commissioner, police said, while Franklin was at Central Booking on $5,000 bail.

The Downtown Parternship is the nonprofit that oversees the downtown improvement district. Uniformed partnership employees serve as guides to the downtown area, clean up trash and maintain public parks. The partnership also maintains a charitable foundation that includes homeless outreach as part of its mission.

Michael Evitts, vice president for communications for the Downtown Partnership, said both Gipson and the second parternship employee were downtown guides, and both have been suspended pending an internal investigation and the outcome of the police case.

"The situation as described so far goes against every bit of protocol that we give our employees, which is the reason for the immediate internal discipline," he said.

Downtown guides are "carefully screened," he said, and "trained to back off and call the appropriate authorities" whenever confronted with violence by someone on the street.

"Those can be complicated interactions, especially if a person [has] an overlaying issue of substance abuse or intoxication or mental health issues," he said.

The Thursday incident occurred about 7:10 a.m. in the 200 block of Bath Street, which serves as the boundary between downtown and Mount Vernon and runs along the southern edge of The Baltimore Sun's building. Investigators believe Gipson and the second Downtown Partnership employee got into a verbal argument with Franklin, and that Gipson stabbed Franklin during the incident.

Franklin was taken to an area hospital with injuries that were not considered life threatening, police said.

Neither Franklin nor Gipson had an attorney listed in online court records Friday.

krector@baltsun.com

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