Lack of information about shooting frustrates Rodgers Forge residents

Residents packed into the Rodgers Forge Elementary School cafeteria Tuesday to learn more about last week's fatal shooting, but many expressed frustration over a lack of information released by police.

"This was a complete waste of time," resident said Tom Mitchell after the meeting. "We expected to get some information."


Police said they tried to answer questions about the fatal shooting that occurred in the area of Murdock Road and Blenheim Road early last Wednesday. But, citing their ongoing investigation, they provided little information that hadn't already been made public.

"I don't want to compromise what our homicide detectives are doing," said Maj. Al Jones of the department's Eastern Patrol.


Officers were called to the neighborhood early Wednesday morning for shots fired and found 36-year-old Donte Antonio Stephens dead in an overturned silver Dodge. Police said Stephens had been shot.

"It wasn't a running gun battle. He did not return fire," Jones said, referring to the victim. Police said Stephens was not armed.

No arrests have been made in the killing.

Police said Stephens lived in the 100 block of Murdock Road, but they initially gave his address as being in the 500 block of North Schroeder Street in Baltimore.

Police reiterated Tuesday that homicide detectives believe Stephens was targeted but would not provide additional details about why they think he was shot. One resident asked about a drug-related motive, but police did not respond.

Another resident asked about connections to the Black Guerrilla Family gang but police said they could not answer.

Jones told residents the department has increased patrols in the area, including uniformed and plainclothes officers and bicycle units, for "as long as it takes."

But many residents said they had hoped to learn more at the meeting.


"We felt there was going to be some more information disseminated," said Mitchell's wife, Deborah.

Her friend, Gail Novo, said, "I think their intentions were good." But, she added, "I think it agitated people more."

After the meeting, County Councilman David Marks said he felt it was important to call the meeting now, rather than wait until the end of the investigation, which could take months.

"We provided all of the information police could share at this time," he said. "This was an interim meeting."