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Man found shot dead in city

March 24, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

The body of an unidentified black man was found face down late Sunday in the first block of West North Avenue - the victim of a gunshot wound and the first murder in Hagerstown in 1997.

"We got the call at 10:12 p.m. that there was a man in the street,'' said Hagerstown City Police Sgt. Ronald Graves. When police arrived, there was no one around the body or on the street.

Community Rescue Service personnel transported the man to Washington County Hospital. He was officially pronounced dead at 10:36 p.m., according to hospital spokesman John Costopoulos.

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Dr. EdwardDitto, a Washington County medical examiner, said the man died of one gunshot wound to the front of the head. The body was sent to Baltimore for a complete autopsy, Ditto said.

Hagerstown Police described the man as in his late teens or early 20s.

The man, who had no identification on him, was wearing dark clothing which was taken into custody at the hospital, police said.

A knit cap was also recovered at the scene, according to forensic chemist Jeff Kercheval.

Kercheval said the man was also wearing two bandanas, one green and one black, on his head under the cap.

All of the clothing has been stored in evidence at police headquarters until the items can be analyzed, Kercheval said.

"We went around the neighborhood Sunday night and nobody apparently saw anything,'' Graves said.

"I stay in my house,'' said Donna Lockley who lives at 33 W. North Ave. and fears for her safety.

Lockley said things have gotten worse in her neighborhood since she moved there three years ago.

"There's a lot of drug dealing going on at the corner,'' Lockley said.

As for Sunday night's discovery of a body, Lockley said she didn't hear anything - not even the police arriving shortly after 10 p.m.

Another neighbor, who feared being identified, said he didn't know anything had happened until this morning. But he added he wasn't surprised.

"There is a lot of drug activity and boom boxes out there,'' the man said. "It's a lot of teenage behavior.''

No weapon was recovered.

The man's fingerprints were obtained and will be sent to the FBI laboratory for help in identification, Graves said.

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