Cleaning worker charged with murder of man at Eldersburg Martin's

Maryland State Police say an employee of a cleaning crew has been charged with murder in the death of a co-worker — an incident that occurred Tuesday night while the two were working at the Martin's grocery store in Eldersburg.

Zamani A. Lawson, 26, of Jamaica, N.Y., has been charged with one count of second degree murder.

Police said the name of the victim, a 22-year-old man from Brooklyn, N.Y., is being withheld at this time because investigators have been unable to locate family members.

Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, June 19, Carroll County Emergency Operations Center received a 911 call reporting a stabbing at the Martin's Supermarket in the 1300 block of Londontown Boulevard, Eldersburg.

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office responded and found a man standing near the store entrance with what appeared to be blood on his shirt.

The man, later identified as Lawson, was taken into custody.  

Deputies were directed by store employees to a storage area in the rear of the store where the victim was found lying on the floor.

The victim was bleeding from several wounds to his upper torso, according to the police report.

Emergency medical personnel were called, and the victim was transported by ambulance to the Carroll Hospital Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital early this morning.  

His body has been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Police said the preliminary investigation indicates the victim and suspect both worked for a cleaning company that is contracted to provide services at the store.

Police said both had recently been sharing a room in the basement of their supervisor's home, located about a mile from the store.

Witnesses told investigators the two became involved in a loud argument in the storage area of the grocery store.  The argument escalated into a physical altercation, and during that altercation, the victim was stabbed, according to the police account.

The cause of the argument has not been specifically identified at this time.  

During a search of the area outside the store, state police investigators recovered what appeared to be a kitchen knife.  The knife is being forwarded to the State Police Forensic Sciences Division for processing.

The grocery store is open 24 hours a day, but police said shoppers were not in the storage area where the incident occurred.

The store was closed during the crime scene processing, but later reopened for business.  

Investigators working on the case include the State Police Homicide Unit, State Police Westminster Barracks Criminal Investigation Section and crime scene technicians from the State Police Forensic Sciences Division, as well as Carroll County Sheriff's Office investigators and crime scene technicians.

A member of the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office also responded to the scene and worked with investigators.

Police said they filed the murder charge after consulting with the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office. As of Wednesday afternoon, Lawson had been taken to the Carroll County Central Booking Center, where he is awaiting an appearance before a court commissioner, police said.

The investigation is continuing.

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