City surveillance cameras help police arrest two in murder

Baltimore Police say city surveillance cameras captured a vicious assault on a West Baltimore street - as well as the fact that police had stopped and spoken with the suspects earlier in the morning. 

James Pitts, 23, and Tyrell Brogden, 26, have been charged with first-degree murder in the July 30 killing of 50-year-old Charles Johnson, who was found dead after being apparently beaten in the head with a wrench, according to police. 

The killing occurred in the 1800 block of W. North Ave., near Fulton Ave., where there are multiple police surveillance cameras. After Johnson was found dead, police checked the tapes and found that the killing had been captured on video. 

But even before that, they found, officers had stopped the same two men earlier in the night and conducted a field interview, police said. According to charging documents, Officers Lavgh Bormanshinov and Robert W. Mitchell had stopped Pitts and Brodgen at about 2:50 a.m. because they were "acting loud and disorderly." 

Pitts and Brogden gave the officers their information, and were allowed to leave the area, police said. The video shows them return a short time later to the corner of Monroe and Fulton. 

At about 3:23, Johnson is seen walking east on North Avenue toward Fulton, then is seen a few minutes later walking back toward Monroe with the suspects following him, according to court records. Police said the suspects can be seen assaulting Johnson for a minute and a half, then walking toward the 1800 block of N. Appleton St., near where they had earlier told the patrol officers that they lived.

A motive for the attack is not given in charging documents. 

Johnson was found lying on the street at about 4 a.m., and was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma, where he was pronounced dead. 

Pitts was arrested Tuesday, while Brogden has been in custody since Aug. 1, records show.

Brogden has a prior record, including a 2009 conviction for attempted armed robbery for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with all but eight years and six months suspended.

James Pitts/Tyrell Brogden charging document (PDF)
James Pitts/Tyrell Brogden charging document (Text)

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