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Two teenagers, including a 14-year-old boy, charged with first-degree murder, Baltimore police say

Two teenagers, including a 14-year-old boy, have been charged with first-degree murder stemming from a July shooting of a man in Southeast Baltimore.

Baltimore police said arrested Ky’Sean Hammond, 14, and Tyron Taylor, 18, both of Baltimore, on charges they shot and killed Joseph Betts on July 17 in the 800 block of Low Street in the Jonestown neighborhood. Both have been charged as adults.

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A defense attorney for Hammond did not dispute his client was there - the boy is not accused of shooting the victim - and said his client turned himself in when he learned there were charges against him.

No attorney was listed for Taylor in court records.

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A detective wrote in charging documents that the killing and moments leading up to it were caught on surveillance cameras, and that anonymous tips and witnesses helped them to identify the suspects.

Tyron Taylor, 18 (left), and Ky’Sean Hammond, 14 , have been charged by Baltimore police with first-degree murder stemming from killing of a 28-year old man in July.
Tyron Taylor, 18 (left), and Ky’Sean Hammond, 14 , have been charged by Baltimore police with first-degree murder stemming from killing of a 28-year old man in July. (Courtesy Baltimore Police Department)

The incident began inside a BP gas station in the 1000 block of Orleans St., police said. Video shows Betts, 28, enter the gas station around 1:20 a.m. and place cash down on the counter to make a purchase. A male who police now say is Hammond can be seen entering the gas station and picks up the currency.

“Ky’Sean Hammond is observed showing the dollar to Joseph Betts and slaps his hand away as Mr. Betts reached for the dollar,” Det. Frank Jenkins wrote in charging documents.

The suspects followed Betts as he leaves the gas station parking lot, and then chased him, Jenkins wrote. They can then be seen grabbing and struggling with Betts, and punching him. Police say Betts broke free, and Taylor pulled out a handgun and shot him in the chest.

Tony Garcia, a defense attorney representing Hammond, said his client had no prior arrests in the juvenile system. He said while the boy took money from the victim, the incident was a “stupid thing that happened late at night” until the second suspect pulled out a gun.

Police said at the time that Betts was found shot around 7:48 a.m., more than six hours after charging documents say the altercation occurred. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The surveillance footage was released on social media in an attempt to identify the suspects. Taylor was charged first — Maryland online court records show that an arrest warrant was issued for him in August, and he was apprehended around Sept. 19. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Oct. 20, the records show.

Police said their investigation continued and that Hammond was picked out of a photo lineup. A warrant was issued for Hammond’s arrest last week, and he was ordered held without bond pending trial by a District Court judge on Monday.

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