Community Honors Slain AFRO Employee

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Members from the Baltimore community gathered April 15 at the corner of Greenmount Avenue and 29th Street to honor the life of Charles Bowman, an AFRO employee who was murdered at a nearby fast food restaurant a week earlier.

“I’ve been doing these types of things for over 30 years and I’ve realized that you can’t [honor] everyone, but it’s just certain things you can’t ignore. Brother Charles Bowman was certainly one of those special individuals,” said the Rev. Willie Ray, chairman of Save Another Youth and the Stop the Violence Coalition, which organized the prayer vigil.

At about 12:30 a.m. on April 8, Bowman, 72, was headed to work at the AFRO for his 1-9 a.m. shift when he stopped in at Yau Brothers Carry Out at 2901 Greenmount Ave.

According to his daughter, Sandra Vanright, two adult males in masks ran into the store, ordering other patrons to get on the floor. Bowman, after hearing the disturbance, turned around suddenly and one of the subjects shot and killed him.

According to the Baltimore City Police Department, the case is still open and no arrests have been made.

“It’s been a terrible thing that’s been happening for the past few years,” said Frank Conaway, Baltimore City court clerk, speaking on the violence in the community. “But usually it’s been among young people who were all probably participants in unlawful activity, gang activity and things like that. But now, it seems as though they’re beginning to attack our most precious citizens, our senior citizens who would not have had that kind of involvement and would not be on the streets involved in illegal activity.”

Residents of the area where Bowman was slain say the neighborhood is highly unsafe at night, and it has been subjected to numerous violent crimes. Conaway said residents need to promptly put an end to the violence.

“I think we have to come together as a city and say ‘enough is enough’ and we’re just not going to take it any longer. We want law enforcement to swiftly, with a dragnet, pick up the perpetrators of this crime,” Conaway said.

According to Rev. Ray, the Coalition will continue to host events throughout the community in efforts to stop the senseless violence.

“We’re in the process of planning another ‘Hands Across Baltimore’ crusade. It’s going to be demonstrated on North Avenue from Hilton Street to Milton Street. We’re going to create a human chain to call about unity and apply pressure on the elements in the city,” he said. “We need to get the message of love and grace out there and that’s what we’re here to do.”