The 22-year-old Edgewood man who died of gunshot wounds Saturday self-identified as a gang member, according to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, but it is unclear whether the shooting was gang motivated.
Christopher Markquell Smith was found outside residences in the 600 block of Edgewood Road around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, suffering from gunshot wounds to his upper body, the sheriff’s office reported. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview, where he was later pronounced dead.
Less than a year ago, Smith’s 15-year-old brother was shot about two miles away, near the intersection of Eloise Lane and Brookside Drive in Edgewood, in what investigators deemed a gang shooting.
Sheriff’s office spokesperson Cristie Hopkins said detectives are still investigating the motive for Saturday’s shooting. Police are also investigating why Smith was at the residences. Smith was unarmed, Hopkins said.
"While the apartment complex where the homicide occurred is not known for gang activity, the surrounding neighborhoods are known for gang activity,” Hopkins wrote in an email.
Smith did not live at the apartments where the incident occurred. Hopkins said his most recent address was on Cedar Crest Court, in the Woodbridge Commons apartments, a little more than two miles from where he was shot.
However, electronic court records from December listed an address for Smith in the 600 block of Harrpark Court, on the opposite side of Edgewood Road from where the shooting occurred.
Smith was known to the sheriff’s office, Hopkins said. Electronic court records show multiple second-degree assault convictions on Smith’s record as well as an open case in which he was charged with second-degree assault.
No arrest has yet been made in the shooting, but deputies are putting together a suspect description, Hopkins said.
Deputies canvassed the area, including a sweep with a K-9, but did not find anyone Saturday. Initial evidence collected from the scene does not suggest a link between Smith’s death and another incident in the same block of Edgewood Road early Friday morning, Hopkins said.
Police responded to the Royal Farms there around 4:16 a.m. Friday and found two 19-year-olds, one with a probable gunshot wound in the upper arm and the other with a stab wound in the lower body, inside a vehicle. Both were taken to the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.
The stabbing victim was released, while the apparent shooting victim was transferred to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, officials said.
No additional details in that incident were available Monday, Hopkins said, and the investigation is ongoing.
The day after Smith’s death, about 80 people marched to the sheriff’s office’s southern precinct in honor of Minneapolis resident George Floyd — who died in police custody, sparking protests in cities across the country — and other unarmed African-Americans who have died at the hands of police officers. One of those peaceable demonstrators was Smith’s brother, who said this was not the first brother he lost.
The young man, who would not provide his name, said he was also related to Khalil Lephonzo Johnson, 15, who was shot and killed last July 4. The sheriff’s office also received information that Johnson and Smith were brothers, Hopkins said.
On July 7, Rahzir Martin Meyers, then 18, was arrested in connection to the shooting, turning himself in to deputies. Court documents in the case suggested that Johnson’s death was a result of a feud between the 400s set of the Bloods and Thug Entertainment set of the Crips.
Johnson, according to those documents, was affiliated with the Crips while Meyers is a member of the 400s set of the Bloods.
Meyers is charged with multiple counts of murder, assault, firearms possession and gang participation. His trial was scheduled for April 13, but it was postponed in view of the court’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. He has been held without bond since his arrest, according to electronic court records. His court case has not yet been rescheduled.
Attempts to reach members of Smith’s family Monday were unsuccessful.
Smith is Harford County’s first homicide of 2020, Hopkins said. The sheriff’s office investigated eight homicides, including Johnson’s, in 2019.
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Anyone with information about Smith’s shooting can contact Det. Kramer at 410-409-3546 or submit a tip online. If the information provided leads to the arrest and indictment of whomever is responsible for the shooting, tipsters could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000, the sheriff’s office said.