- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2008


BALTIMORE | A former Baltimore council member was fatally shot early Saturday in what police described as an armed robbery at a friend’s music club.

Kenneth N. Harris Sr., 45, died about 2 a.m. at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said Sterling Clifford, a city police spokesman.

Mr. Harris was shot at New Haven Lounge in Northeast Baltimore, where he’d gone about 1:30 a.m. to visit the owner and borrow a corkscrew.

At a news conference Saturday, police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld said that the club had been robbed in July and that investigators think the same suspects may have been involved in both cases.

As Mr. Harris and the owner, whom police did not identify, walked to the front door, police said they encountered three robbers. One wore a mask with black material and white face popularized by the movie “Scream” and the others covered their faces with bandanas or clothing, Commissioner Bealefeld said.

Two robbers grabbed the owner and Mr. Harris ran to his car, where he was shot in the chest by the third robber, Mr. Clifford said. Mr. Harris got to his Toyota sedan and drove away, but only made it to the edge of the shopping center.

The suspects stole money from the safe in the lounge and ran out the back of the bar, Mr. Clifford said. As they left, the owner grabbed a gun and fired three shots, but police don’t think the robbers were hit.

A costume mask and the bar owner’s wallet were found about a block away, Mr. Clifford said. The robbers got away with about $1,200 total, he said.

“It does not make any sense at all that it happened,” Mr. Clifford said.

Mr. Harris’ family released a statement Saturday through a friend asking for the prayers of the city that Mr. Harris worked for and loved.

“We are overwhelmed with unspeakable grief at the shocking — and senseless — act of violence that took away a devoted husband and father, and one of Baltimore City’s brightest stars,” the family said.

Investigators have good evidence to pursue in the case but are not ready to disclose it, Mr. Clifford said.

Police remained Saturday at the lounge at the Northwood Plaza shopping center. Shattered glass on the parking lot pavement in front of the club was marked as evidence.

Mr. Harris, a Democrat, represented the 4th District from 1999 until last year, when he lost in a three-way primary for the council president’s seat.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

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