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Baltimore man charged in slaying of gospel radio personality


A 21-year-old man was charged yesterday in the slaying of gospel radio personality Alfred Jerome Stewart, who died after being gunned down Wednesday on an East Baltimore street.

Gary Ricardo Ward of the 1600 block of Darley Ave. was charged with first-degree murder and felony handgun violations, Baltimore police said.

Police arrested Mr. Ward at 6:30 a.m. yesterday at his girlfriend's home in the 900 block of Luzerne Ave. in Baltimore. The motive for the crime appears to be drug-related, police said.

A homicide detective said Mr. Ward was identified after witnesses reported seeing him in the area of the shooting, armed with a gun.

Mr. Ward was being held without bail last night at the Eastern District lockup, awaiting a bail review before a District Court commissioner later in the evening.

The victim, a morning drive-time disc jockey for gospel radio station WWIN-AM, was shot several times in the back at the corner of Cliftview Avenue and Harford Road.

Mr. Stewart, 51, of the 8700 block of Mary Lane, Jessup, apparently died with two vials of crack cocaine in his hand, according to homicide investigators.

Police said Mr. Stewart had parked his Mercedes-Benz in front of a neighborhood carry-out shop and was on the street when a gunman opened fire on him just before 11:25 p.m.

Mr. Stewart was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene 12 minutes later, police said.

The area where the shooting occurred, just south of Clifton Park, is known for heavy drug-trafficking and is littered with used syringes, police said.

Police said it is still unknown why the gunman started firing at Mr. Stewart.

Mr. Stewart, who had been in broadcasting for more than 20 years and had a loyal following in the gospel radio industry, worked a 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. air shift at WWIN. He joined the station two years ago.

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