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Police say video images might show Harris' killers

The Baltimore Sun

Police released surveillance camera footage yesterday that they believe may show one or more of the suspects in the killing of former City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. The images were captured at the shopping center minutes before he was killed last month.

The grainy images, which are being enhanced at an outside crime lab, show three men walking through the west end of the Northwood Plaza, with one man apparently holding a Halloween skeleton mask behind his back at one point. Investigators recovered a similar mask not far from the crime scene and believe it might have been worn by one of the attackers.

"The mask that we [showed] the public is being held by one of the persons of interest, so we're very interested in trying to obtain their identity," said Troy Harris, a police spokesman.

Later in the 1-minute, 30-second video, the men are briefly picked up again by a surveillance camera, this time as they walk by a Bank of America ATM equipped with motion sensors at Northwood Plaza's eastern end. A time stamp on the video shows 1:33 a.m. - 20 minutes before police were called to the scene for a report of a shooting.

Keith Covington, owner of the New Haven Lounge jazz club, said Harris stopped by his business about 1:15 a.m. Sept. 20 to use the restroom and borrow a corkscrew. As the two men walked outside, Covington said, four men ambushed them and forced their way into the club. Police have said they believe three suspects were involved.

Harris was shot in the chest as he ran to his car. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police rushed to release the video yesterday after three still images from it appeared in Sunday's Baltimore Examiner, and they said they hope to release a cleaner version of the video soon.

Officials also confirmed a report in the Examiner that police believe that the gun used to shoot Harris was used in a crime this year at the BP gas station in Northwood Plaza. Police are also exploring links to a July robbery at the New Haven Lounge that follow a nearly identical pattern to the one that resulted in Harris' death.

"We're asking for help from the public," said Harris, the police spokesman. "Anytime we hit a wall, we know one of the resources we can use is the community at large."

Also yesterday, Harris' widow announced the creation of a fund that will help pay college tuition for the couple's son, Ken Jr., who is attending the University of Maryland, College Park. "Our family appreciates every act of love and kindness that has been directed our way," Annette Harris said in a statement. Contributions may be made at Harbor Bank of Maryland locations.

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