Bartender shot on his way home during robbery continues to recover, friends say

Bartender shot on his way home during robbery continues to recover, friends say.

A local musician and bartender remains in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center after he was shot Christmas morning in downtown Baltimore.

Jason Pierce, 38, was shot at least twice just before 3 a.m. in the 200 block of N. Calvert St. as he walked home, police said. No arrests have been made.

Pierce works at the Tin Roof bar at Power Plant Live and plays lead guitar with the local band Toll Tribe, friends said.

Bandmate Matthew Collins said he's still in shock. "All the times that we walked [home]. It just hits you. It's just circumstance sometimes," he said.

His roommate, Bretly Morris, said he learned of Pierce's shooting from another Power Plant Live employee on Christmas morning and was told police were trying to notify Pierce's family.

Morris said he reached out to friends to see if they had a way to reach Pierce's mother. He also posted a message on Facebook and tagged her. About 7 p.m. on Christmas, Morris said, she called him back and he broke the news to her.

"It's not an easy thing to do," Morris said while tending to tables at the Tin Roof bar. "I could just hear the breath come out of her body over the phone

Pierce's mother could not be reached for comment.

Morris said he normally makes the 10-minute walk home with Pierce but didn't on Christmas morning because he was housesitting for friends in Canton.

Morris said he and Pierce never had problems walking home before. But after the shooting, he said, he will no longer make the walk at night.

Police are checking surveillance cameras to see if they captured the shooting, a police spokesman said.

Collins said he and Pierce started Toll Tribe, which plays original and cover songs spanning several genres from rock to reggae, after meeting at a local open-mic competition. He said the band is scheduled to play a show next month in Washington.

Collins said it was difficult seeing his friend unconscious in a hospital bed, but he appears to be improving. He said Pierce is strong, and he looks forward to being able to have a full conversation with him again.

Morris has also has visited Pierce in the hospital and said Pierce has been able to give him a thumbs-up.

"Jason is a strong guy," Morris said. "It's apparent he's fighting this right now."

He said Pierce's mother and sister have been overwhelmed by the support from the community. A GoFundMe page created Monday quickly raised thousands of dollars, Morris said. By Thursday it had collected nearly $27,000 to help pay for medical costs.

The Tin Roof bar is planning a benefit concert to support Pierce, Morris said. A date hasn't been set.

Police asked anyone with information to call 1-866-7LOCKUP.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/janders5

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