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Baltimore chef killed during robbery, despite putting his hands up

A 46-year-old man was killed during a robbery in Baltimore overnight — despite putting his hands up.

A Baltimore man raised his hands during a robbery outside his home early Wednesday — but he was shot to death anyway.

"Mike didn't deserve to have his hands in the air and be shot," said friend Mark Dennis, a photographer in the mayor's office. "It's like, for what? Why?"

Michael Bates, 46, was standing outside his apartment in the 4600 block of Pen Lucy Road in Southwest Baltimore shortly before 2:30 a.m. when robbers approached, police said.

A woman who was with Bates told police they had their hands up when a robber fired. She was unharmed.

Police were looking for the robbers. Thirty-four people have been killed in Baltimore in the last 30 days.

Bates was a chef who had worked at several Baltimore restaurants. He also founded a catering company, Chef Like Me Collective, and had taught cooking at Carver Vocational-Technical High.

He graduated from Northwestern High School in 1988 and enlisted in the Navy, friends said. He earned an associate's degree at Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Va., in 2008, and trained at Stratford University in Baltimore's Little Italy.

Bates arrived at Stratford in 2014 with years of experience cooking, said Darryl Campbell, campus director.

Bates had worked in Under Armour's cafeteria, the former Phaze 10 restaurant in Mount Vernon and, recently, Brew House No. 16, also in Mount Vernon.

Edwin Scholly trained Bates at Stratford. He said Bates would read about a French master chef and arrive eager to learn more.

"He would have the questions from the books, and I would give him the answers," Scholly said. "He would get it right if it had to take him until 12 a.m."

Scholly recalled on time when Bates' assignment was making duck confit, which must cook slowly while buried in fat.

Bates forgot to cover the legs, and "I said, 'Mike, that's duck jerky,'" Scholly said.

Bates tried again.

Scholly reflected on his former charge Wednesday.

"To be killed and treated like that," he said, and then fell quiet and shook his head.

Campbell remembered Bates holding court at Stratford, surrounded by students and discussing the five mother sauces of French cuisine.

He was a teaching assistant to Scholly while he worked toward a bachelor's degree in culinary management.

"Students really loved what he brought," Campbell said. "He gave them a sort of rawness not many people can."

He would tell students about his time in the Navy, of rising from poverty and building a career as a chef in Baltimore, Campbell said.

He earned his degree three months ago.

"When his name was called across the stage," Campbell said, "the place was berserk. It went crazy. ... At least a two-minute standing ovation."

Just before graduation, Bates tried again with duck confit. He was careful to cover the legs, to slowly simmer the duck.

He presented the dish to Scholly, a master chef who has cooked for four presidents.

It was just right.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

tprudente@baltsun.com

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