Man charged with killing neighbors over parking space

A Baltimore man killed two neighbors over a parking space, police said.

An ongoing dispute between neighbors over a parking space ended Friday when a North Baltimore man shot and killed two men, police said.

Police have charged Dennis Padgett, 34, with shooting Troy R. Preston, 40, four times in the head outside his home, then chasing a second, Robert Durham Thomas, 47, and shooting him at close range in the middle of traffic on Northern Parkway in the Ramblewood neighborhood Friday afternoon.

The neighbors had had several heated arguments over the past year, detectives wrote in charging documents.

Police said Padgett and Thomas began fighting over a parking space outside Padgett's home in the 3900 block of Glenkirk Road shortly before 3:45 p.m. Friday.

Padgett took his children inside his home and came back outside with an AR-15-type assault rifle and a 9mm handgun, police said. Padgett shot Preston in the street, police said, then chased Thomas about one block north to Northern Parkway.

Padgett shot at Thomas in the street in the middle of traffic, police said. One shot pierced the windshield of an oncoming vehicle heading east on Northern Parkway, striking the passenger seat, police said.

Padgett then walked up to Thomas and fired numerous shots, striking him the head and body with the pistol, police said.

The shooting took place close to two schools, Leith Walk Elementary and Mercy High School. Leith Walk students had already been dismissed, and Mercy President Mary Beth Lennon said Monday that because of exams, most of its students had already left campus for the day.

"This is really an unusual incident in this neighborhood," she said.

Police said Padgett then ran back to his house with his guns, and SWAT officers soon responded. Padgett came out with his hands up in surrender, police wrote in documents.

Padgett was arrested and taken by police to be interviewed by detectives. He said he had an argument with Thomas and shot both men, police wrote in the charging documents. Witnesses also identified Padgett as the shooter.

SWAT officers searched Padgett's home and found the loaded rifle in a trash can behind the house.

Officers also found "a large amount of ammunition of the same caliber," and other various calibers in Padgett's upstairs bedroom, along with a shotgun and pistol, the document said. In the bedroom, officers found an ammunition box containing several other magazines of the same type and caliber of the AR-15-type assault rifle that was found in the trash can.

Police recovered clothing worn by Padgett covered with what appeared to be blood, tissue and bone fragments.

Padgett is being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center. He did not have an attorney listed in online court records. Members of his family could not be reached for comment Monday.

Padgett has faced other charges in the past, including several for assault. In 2009, he was found guilty of second-degree assault. In 2004, he was charged with attempted first-degree murder but was convicted of first-degree assault.

He faces 17 charges from Friday's incident, including first-degree murder, assault and possessing a firearm with a felony conviction.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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