Sunday would have been Devon Chavis’ 30th birthday, so his loved ones threw the kind of party the “celebrity barber” would have wanted: his favorite foods, fireworks, and a balloon release, with family and friends who came from far away to celebrate him.
“If he was here, he would’ve had a blast for his 30th,” said cousin Tana Anderson, 42.
A day later, Anderson and others gathered again in a Baltimore’s downtown federal courthouse to watch one of the men responsible for his 2019 killing plead guilty for his role in a spree of carjackings. In addition to Chavis, two others were fatally shot and off-duty Baltimore Police Sgt. Isaac Carrington suffered life-threatening injuries.
Karon Foster, 27, pleaded guilty to three counts of racketeering and as part of his plea is expected to receive between 30 and 40 years in federal prison at a later sentencing hearing.
Foster’s plea agreement outlines at least 13 carjackings that he and his co-conspirators were involved with between April and August of 2019. They occurred throughout the city, with the crew often stealing a car and then using it to commit another carjacking. Foster also was responsible for pawning items taken during the robberies, according to his plea.
Some of the robberies went bad: On June 12, 2019, 29-year-old Taven Lowther was speaking with someone in the parking lot of a Northeast Baltimore apartment complex when they both noticed a car back into a parking space across from them, scraping its muffler on the curb. Four males, two of them armed with handguns, got out and announced a robbery.
The person Lowther had been talking to fled, the keys to the ignition still in his vehicle — they could have taken the car with ease and left Lowther alone. But Lowther resisted the robbers’ commands, and was shot several times, according to court records. Prosecutors recounted the incident in court Monday but did not identify who shot Lowther.
Chavis was killed July 19 in the 4900 block of Goodnow Road. He was a well-known barber whose business was called Celebrity Cutz by Dev, and relatives said he recently cut the hair of a well-known NFL player. He had a one-year-old daughter at the time he was killed.
“He was never into violence,” said friend Queoshay Dickens, 29. “He knew he wanted to be: He wanted to be an entrepreneur, he wanted to be a good father. He wanted to live to be old.”
She continued: “He lived his life the right way. This wasn’t somebody you can look at and say this was another young Black statistic.”
Another murder followed on Aug. 1, when Kendrick Sharpe, 48, was shot in the 5300 block of Fernpark Avenue. Sharpe was an Army veteran and father of five.
A week after that, off-duty Baltimore Police officer Carrington was shot during a robbery attempt in the 5600 block of Summerfield Avenue. He was hospitalized for two weeks, prosecutors said.
Carrington could not be reached for comment through the police department Monday.
One of Foster’s co-defendants in this case, Rashaud Nesmith, has since been charged in a federal case alleging that he was a member of the Triple-C gang that authorities claim is responsible for 18 murders and 28 attempted murders. Foster is not charged in that case, nor is the 2019 carjacking spree part of the charged cases.
Sharpe’s aunt, Veronica Knight, called Foster and his associates “two-bit criminals” who should not have been out on the streets. She noted that Foster had been charged with murder previously in 2015. Maryland online court records show Foster has been charged with a string of crimes since, including armed robberies and carjackings and violations of probation in Baltimore City Court.
Anderson, Chavis’ cousin, also said that she did not feel that Foster’s expected sentence would be enough.
“I’m not saying one life is greater than another, but growing up in Baltimore city, the way we grew up, he wasn’t supposed to be the way he was,” she said of Chavis, adding that he beat the odds.
Foster “shouldn’t see the light of day again,” Anderson said. “Devon won’t get to see his daughter grow up. Every last person that had a hand in his murder shouldn’t see the light of day again.”