Execution-like aspects of slaying puzzle police


Police investigators are still seeking a motive in the shooting death Thursday of a 30-year-old executive of a Southwest Baltimore furniture company, but they believe the murder may have been an execution rather than an attempted robbery, a police spokesman said yesterday.

"He was executed, that's what it looks like," said Dennis S. Hill, the spokesman, of shooting victim Aaron S. Levenson. "But we have no idea why."

Mr. Levenson, vice president of Royal Furniture Co. Inc., was intercepted by two men as he got out of his car in a parking lot across the street from the company's showroom in the 500 block of South Monroe Street. The gunman and his accomplice fled without touching two vinyl bank deposit bags, which contained store receipts but no cash, or taking anything from Mr. Levenson's body.

Mr. Hill said yesterday that investigators have interviewed a witness who saw the shooting from atop some scaffolding across the street and who has given a fairly complete account of the incident.

The witness told the police that Mr. Levenson's attackers said nothing to him as they approached him, Mr. Hill said. The gunman fired one shot from a 9mm handgun into the victim's chest and two more shots into his back as he fell to the ground, Mr. Hill said.

The two men ran north on South Monroe Street and then east across a used car lot to an alley. There, they jumped into a black car and sped off, leaving a track of rubber on the pavement, Mr. Hill said.

"They just ran up to him, shot him and ran off," the police spokesman said. "It's a violent end, and nothing makes it appear that it was a robbery unless they shot him and panicked."

About a half-dozen homicide detectives are working to locate the two suspects, both of whom were said to be about 20 years old.

The police spent several hours yesterday at a Patapsco Avenue landfill searching for a handgun disposed of by a man who later was charged with narcotics violations. Mr. Hill said homicide detectives had been interested because the drug suspect was seen driving a dark-colored car. The weapon was not found.

Detectives said they have ruled out a recently fired Royal Furniture employee as a suspect. They also said they can find no link at this time with a 1988 incident in which Mr. Levenson was robbed and beaten near the Inner Harbor while walking toward his home at the time.

Both assailants in that case are serving lengthy prison terms at the Maryland Correction Institution at Hagerstown, said Susan G. Kaskie, a corrections spokeswoman.

"Right now we have no motive or suspects," Mr. Hill said.

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