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Police bring latest 'Public Enemy No. 1' into custody

A 22-year-old Baltimore man being sought by police in a murder case and setting fire to the home of his alleged victim's relatives was taken into custody without incident in Brooklyn late Friday.

Charles Henson, dubbed "Public Enemy No. 1" by Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts two days earlier, was captured in the 3800 block of Fifth St. Police said they received numerous tips, one of which led to his location.

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"When he looked out the window and saw our helicopter shining that spotlight on him tonight, I think that was just enough for him to throw his hands in the air and give up," said Deputy Police commissioner Kevin Davis.

Henson, who was out on bail after being indicted last summer in a major drug case, is charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 28 killing of Davon Johnson, 28, with whom he is believed to have had a dispute, in the 2300 block of Walbrook Ave. in Mondawmin, police said.

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He also is suspected of setting a fire at Johnson's home nearby, in the 2000 block of N. Bentalou St., on Feb. 22, to intimidate witnesses who are now under protection, police said.

"He identified some state's witnesses who had participated in the murder investigation. He went to their home, he set their house on fire," said Davis, adding that police were able to move the residents out before the arson and no one was injured. "He certainly meant to do harm when he participated in that arson."

Davis said Henson was not armed when he was arrested, although police had learned he may have been planning to engage them in a shootout. A warning went out to officers across the police radio earlier Friday.

"Numerous people had contacted Mr. Henson while he was running from police, and they were of the opinion that he may wish to die at the hands of police, suicide by cop, if you will," he said. "We shared that with our police force to protect them, and to put them on alert, and thankfully he didn't make good on that threat."

As a precautionary measure, a SWAT team responded to the Brooklyn home, although Henson was taken without incident, said Detective Jeremy Silbert, a police spokesman.

Davis thanked community members who "stepped up to the plate" and provided tips that led to Henson's arrest. He was the fifth suspect since 2013 to be named Public Enemy No. 1 by police, who have used the campaign to bring awareness to high-profile fugitives.

The title hadn't been used since February 2014, however, and, after the conviction of one such fugitive last month, Davis said police had not abandoned it. Davis said police want to make sure they reserve the title for the most serious fugitives. "It sends a strong message tonight to anyone in Baltimore who wants to commit a murder. Commit a murder, intimidate a state's witness and we will come after you relentlessly. This community will come after you relentlessly."

Henson had been released on $25,000 bail after being charged in a heroin distribution ring last year by the Baltimore City state's attorney's office, according to online court records. He was one of 27 suspects named in a sweeping Mondawmin-area indictment announced in August 2014 after a months-long investigation.

He has two previous convictions in drug cases, court records show, and in 2010 a gun-related drug charge was dropped by prosecutors.

Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

Twitter.com/jean_marbella

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