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Baltimore police make arrest in killing of tattoo shop employee in Fells Point

Baltimore police have arrested one of two suspects in the fatal shooting in Fells Point last month of Jim Forrester, a musician and employee at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum, police said Friday.

Michael Bailey, 29, of the 2600 block of Ashland Ave. in East Baltimore is charged with first-degree murder and various other counts, said T.J. Smith, a police spokesman.

Tips from the community helped identify Bailey as one of two suspects seen in a surveillance video that police previously released, Smith said.

Bailey did not have an attorney listed in court records Friday, and could not be reached.

Smith would not say whether Bailey is believed to have pulled the trigger in Forrester’s shooting. He said that police are still investigating what occurred but that Bailey and the second suspect were both “complicit” in the crime.

“It was certainly a senseless act,” Smith said. “I really don’t have any further information about a motive. It appears they approached him. It happened relatively quickly. And one of the individuals pulled out a gun and shot him.

“This is a case that we’re still investigating,” Smith said. “We’re still searching for information on the second suspect.”

Forrester, 43, worked as a body piercer at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum. He was shot outside the shop in the 1500 block of Eastern Ave. about 7:35 p.m. Dec. 18, after stepping outside to call his wife, police said.

Forrester also was a bassist in two bands, Foghound and Serpents of Secrecy, and previously worked at the Ottobar. Forrester lived in Ranson, W.Va., and was a 1993 graduate of Liberty High School in Carroll County.

Chris Keaton, owner of the tattoo shop and Forrester’s longtime friend, said Forrester’s wife heard Forrester say, “Get away from me,” over the phone just before the shooting occurred.

Bailey is due to stand trial on Tuesday on separate drug distribution and possession charges from May.

He has a long criminal record.

He pleaded guilty in 2012 to first-degree assault and using a handgun in the commission of a crime in relation to a 2011 incident in which he’d initially been charged with attempted first-degree murder, according to court records. He was sentenced to five years in prison in that case.

Bailey pleaded guilty in 2005 to possession of a firearm as a minor, later violating his probation in that case, according to court records.

He also has multiple other drug convictions, according to court records.

krector@baltsun.com

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