Baltimore detectives and dozens of police recruits canvassed the Johnston Square neighborhood in east Baltimore where a 54-year-old woman was fatally stabbed as she was giving money to a homeless woman to feed her baby.
Keith Smith, 52, is grieving the loss of his wife, Jacquelyn Smith, an electrical engineer who was fatally stabbed in her vehicle just after midnight Saturday morning near Latrobe homes.
On the last night of her life, Jacquelyn and Keith danced to their wedding song at the American Legion on Madison Street in Baltimore, where they celebrated his daughter Shavon’s 28th birthday.
On their way home to Harford County, at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Jacquelyn spotted a young homeless woman panhandling in the rain. The woman held up a cardboard sign asking for money to feed her baby.
Police say Jacquelyn rolled down the front passenger window to give money to the woman, when a man approached the car, snatched her necklace and plunged a knife into her chest.
“Snatched her necklace, and before I knew it, the girl snatched the little pocketbook from the seat and they both ran,” Keith told WJZ. “I jumped out the car to run, but I heard my wife screaming, so I came back to the car.”
As the suspects fled, Keith said the woman paused long enough to tell him something.
“This girl actually said ‘God bless you,'” he said.
Keith rushed his wife to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“She was just everything to me. My everything. We called each other soulmates,” he told a reporter.
Mayor Catherine Pugh met with Keith on Monday. “You’ve got people who’ve got warm hearts who want to roll down their windows and give to people. This incident that occurred this past weekend is unconscionable,” the mayor said during a working lunch with City Council members at its Monday meeting.
On Monday afternoon, Baltimore detectives gathered with police recruits at the intersection of East Chase Street and Valley Street to canvas the area and hand out fliers, according to WJZ-TV.
“We’re gonna leave no stone unturned when it comes to this case,” interim commissioner Gary Tuggle told reporters at the scene.
Tuggle said the man and woman were likely working together and the crime was premeditated.
“They’re using this ruse as panhandlers to get the attention of their would-be victim, and we also want to caution the public about engaging with panhandlers,” Tuggle added.
Keith Smith and his daughter arrived at the scene as police canvassed the neighborhood for clues. He had words of caution for Baltimore drivers who might encounter panhandlers this holiday season.
“For anybody that’s in Baltimore, be careful when we see these panhandlers out here,” Smith said. “Get in close proximity to your car. Because like me, I’m from Baltimore, the last thing I thought that they were gonna take my wife’s life. And so now I gotta live with that. I gotta live with that every day.”
Police describe the attacker as a Black male in his 30s, about 6 feet tall with a goatee.
The woman is believed to be in her 20s, about 5-foot-4, and wearing a brown coat.
Metro Crime Stoppers is offering $2000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.
Anyone with information is asked to call Baltimore Police at (410) 396-2221 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7lockup.