Residents, relatives of victim want Baltimore Police to padlock gas station where man was killed; public nuisance hearing set

Darlene Thomas, right, tries to keep her candle lit at a vigil for and rally for her son Albert Stevenson Jr. Also attending is City Council member Odette Ramos, left.

As the vigil for a man who was killed there a week ago got underway Saturday, the BP gas station that residents want shuttered as a neighborhood nuisance was indeed closed. A business they say needs more security had it, with a guard in an SUV with flashing lights asking anyone approaching to stay on the other side of the yellow crime tape stretched across the entry off Havenwood Road in Original Northwood.

“It’s crazy. Now they can get security — for a protest,” said Jamar Day, 34, who organized the vigil and rally to call for the gas station to be padlocked.


Day is the nephew of Albert Stevenson Jr., 56, who was shot and killed when he stopped at the station’s store for cigarettes and a soft drink on Dec. 11. .

A public nuisance hearing for the gas station will take place Jan. 25, Baltimore Police announced Tuesday. In a hearing notice, Commissioner Michael Harrison wrote that there had been at least six events involving crimes of violence or the illegal distribution of controlled dangerous substances in or near the property in the past 22 months, including the fatal shooting Dec. 11.


Police said three men attempted to rob a man outside the gas station in February 2021, cutting his arm with a knife. Officers observing what they believed to be drug transactions seized “suspected marijuana” four times and on two occasions also found loaded guns.

The city’s code defines a location as a “public nuisance” if it has been used for criminal activity two or more times within two years.

About 50 people, including relatives of Stevenson, nearby residents and two Baltimore City Council members gathered next to the station Saturday to light candles for the homicide victim and urge that it be padlocked.

“This service station has been a thorn in the side for years,” said Darlene Thomas, 76, Stevenson’s mother.

He lived with her near the station, but like others at the rally, she said they generally avoided it.

Residents say they’ve witnessed drug dealing at the station, and that they’ve heard of robberies and other crimes.

Police Department records show there were 81 calls to 911 about the station in the past three months. The most complaints, 33, were for disorderly people, with 16 calls referring to drugs.

“This is a focus area for deployment and proactive enforcement,” said Lindsey Eldridge, spokeswoman for the police department.


Neighbors say the gas station has long been a problem, and decry that it has remained even as the area around it has been spruced up by a $50 million redevelopment, Northwood Commons, with a new Lidl supermarket and other stores and restaurants.

“We don’t get our gas here,” said Lauren DeVine, 40, who lives nearby and brought her two young daughters to the rally and vigil. “They’ll witness drug activity here.”

“This gas station is uglier and uglier,” her 11-year-old daughter Lilah piped in.

She and other neighbors came bearing signs calling for the station to be shut down. The crowd chanted “Shut it down,” and listened as relatives and neighborhood representatives spoke and called for action.

Day asked for a moment of silence, then the crowd lit candles, which on the cold windy afternoon did not remain lit for long.

Day said before the rally that his uncle was driving a friend home when he stopped at the station. He was at the cashier, asking for cigarettes and ready to pay and leave when he was shot.


“He was at the cash register with a Pepsi in his hand,” Day said. “Who’s going to be next?”

Attending the rally were Baltimore City Council members Ryan Dorsey, who represents the district, and Odette Ramos of an adjacent district. Both said they supported padlocking the business.

Dorsey said he talked to the Northeast District police commander the day after the homicide and said he understood the process to get the station padlocked was in progress.

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“We’ve heard concerns for years,” Dorsey said. “There have been enough incidents to warrant the police department to utilize the padlock law.”

Police have used the padlock law to close businesses that they say are complicit in crime, such as a BP station in West Baltimore in 2016.

Donald Young, 57, who lives nearby, called for help from City Hall as well, saying he only sees Mayor Brandon Scott at what he calls “glamour events.


“The mayor needs to do the job he said he was going to do when he was running,” Young said. “That’s to stop the gun violence.”

For Thomas, it was difficult being at the site where her only child was killed, where a window apparently shattered during the shooting remained boarded up.

“It’s even hard to drive past,” she said. “But something has to be done.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Cassidy Jensen contributed to this article.