Friends remember 71-year-old Baltimore man killed in daylight shooting

71-year-old man shot dead at Hilltop Shopping Center.

James Gaylord had left his fellow regulars at the McDonald's on York Road to help a friend drive a woman they both knew to the Motor Vehicle Administration office in Northwest Baltimore.

At the Hilltop Shopping Center, the 71-year-old retiree became the city's latest homicide victim.

Gaylord, whose identity was released by police Saturday, was hit in what witnesses described as a burst of gunfire at around 3 p.m. in the 5400 block of Reisterstown Road.

Police also released partial identities of four others who were wounded in the brazen daylight shooting: a 54-year-old man, a 41-year-old woman, a 33-year-old man and a 26-year-old man. They had injuries ranging from "graze wounds" to "through and through" bullet wounds, police have said.

No arrests have been made, and police said they didn't know of any suspects or motive for the shooting.

Gaylord was a regular at the McDonald's in the of 5100 block of York Road, where he would order a salad and French fries because he was trying to eat healthy. He and his cronies gathered daily to talk about women, sports, current events — you name it.

Several of those friends gathered at the fast food restaurant Saturday to mourn Gaylord's death. They described him as a giving man who would treat kids to Happy Meals or the homeless to a burger. A small guy with a booming voice, he liked to crack jokes.

"He was a talker," said 61-year-old Horace Dismond, who saw him the day he was shot. "Every day you could find him in that McDonald's talking to someone."

Dismond said Gaylord worked as a maintenance man and groundskeeper, but had retired.

Gaylord wasn't good at remembering names, so would give nicknames to just about everyone. James Myers got "Namesake," because they shared the same first name.

"This place is not going to be the same without him," Myers said.

Kimberly Gaines, 26, thought of Gaylord as an uncle. She said he took her under his wing when she was 9 years old, would give her life advice and once helped her buy a car.

Gaylord was a great cook, Gaines said, with an especially tasty chicken salad.

"I still can't believe he's gone," she said.

Police released few new details in the case Saturday. On Friday, police said it was unclear whether there was one shooter or more, or if there was a person targeted in the shooting.

Gaylord could often be seen sitting on the leather sofas in the lounge area of the Walker Mews apartment complex on York Road, where tenants said he lived.

He was always "keeping something going" with his wiseguy antics, one neighbor said.

Margaret Taylor, who said she heads the tenant association for the building, said you could always tell when he had returned from an outing.

"We always knew he was coming home because he had a loud, distinct voice," Taylor said.

She and others said they were saddened to learn someone they knew had been shot.

"It's hard to believe it was him," said 58-year-old Marshall Taylor, no relation to Margaret.

amcdaniels@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/ankwalker

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