Advertisement
Carroll County Times
Carroll County News

‘He was always ready to smile.’ Family, friends remember Westminster teen who died from a gunshot wound in Dundalk.

Family and friends of Westminster High School freshman Tom Pfoff said he had a joyful spirit and loved to spend time with friends.

“He had a smile — it was like a half-crooked smile, like a grin,” said Michelle Wood, Pfoff’s cousin. “No matter what he was doing, where he was at, he always had that little smirk.”

Advertisement

On Wednesday, mourners will pay respects to and share stories about the 15-year-old, who died Jan. 17 from a gunshot wound sustained in a Dundalk home. Funeral services will be held at the Connelly Funeral Home of Essex in Baltimore.

Pfoff was a jokester and an “agitator,” Wood said.

Advertisement

”He wasn’t one of those kids who listened to music and, like, walked around with headphones in,” Wood said. “He would rather sit and talk to people and have conversations and laugh and carry on.”

On a trip to New Hampshire a few years ago, Wood and her children visited Pfoff. Though he spent some of his youth in Dundalk, he relocated to New Hampshire with his aunt for several years before moving back to the Baltimore area in Carroll County a few years ago. On a rainy day, the children played together on a trampoline. Innocently, they came inside and asked for dish soap. When Wood looked outside, she was shocked.

”There’s bubbles as far as you can see, the kids are covered in soap and they’re having a grand, old time,” Wood said with a laugh.

Pfoff loved to spend time with family and friends. And even though he was very small for his age, he enjoyed riding dirt bikes and four wheelers, Wood said.

”He was just fun, smiling. He got along with everyone,” Wood said.

Carroll County Breaking News

Carroll County Breaking News

As it happens

When big news breaks, be the first to know.

Tammy Lynn Keith-Bateman’s son was friends with Pfoff, she said. She watched the boys grow up together in the Cedar Hearst neighborhood of Finksburg.

“They rode bikes together, played video games and had sleepovers … He was small in stature but made up for it in personality,” Keith-Bateman said. “He was always ready to smile.”

She said the COVID-19 pandemic was hard on the friends, who lost touch when school was held online only.

Advertisement

“Once schools opened up again, it was like they were never apart,” Keith-Bateman said. “This is going to be a hard thing for all of us to get through.”

She said she was going to miss looking out the window of her home and seeing the boys riding bikes down the street together.

Baltimore County Police have charged Raymond Byrd, 24, with multiple firearms charges related to Pfoff’s death. Byrd told police that his unregistered “ghost gun” was stored unsecured behind a television in the home’s living room before the shooting took place, according to charging documents. Byrd told police he heard the gun go off in the living room, and he said that the teen’s wounds were self-inflicted.

Byrd is a friend of one of the teen’s family members, said Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Joy Stewart.


Advertisement