Officials are still baffled as to why four men would want 19-year-old Rodney Pridget Jr. dead just days before Christmas 2011.

The crime sent shockwaves through Baltimore at the most festive time of year. Last week, Frank Theodore Williams, 31; Jermell Monte Brandon, 35; Tyrone Chester Brown Jr., 19 and William Ward III, 44, were all formally charged with first degree murder.

The fatal shooting took place Dec. 19, mere feet from the posh Nordstrom of Towson Town Center, and still has residents a bit on edge. The incident occurred at 6:22 p.m., while the mall was filled with families enjoying the pre-Christmas rush and last minute shopping.

“It’s like I’m walking around with a hole in me,” said the elder Rodney Pridget, still grieving the loss of his son. “I love that boy. Plus, he was my only son. I love him and I miss him. I see his face every night,” said Pridget’s father to Baltimore CBS affiliate, WJZ. Surveillance video shows the four men stalking through the mall before he was shot down at a service entrance, with police placing the gun in Brown’s hands. All the men are currently being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center and are also charged with using a handgun in the process of a felony crime.

Piecing together all the footage, detectives were able to construct a sequence of events from the last hours of Pridget’s life, beginning around 5:11 p.m. when he entered the establishment’s Downtown locker Room (DTLR) with his girlfriend.

Charging documents show that after spotting Pridget in the DTLR, Brandon places a call to Williams, who soon after arrives at the mall with Brown and Ward. Ward and Williams then enter the mall, leaving Brown in the burgundy-colored vehicle parked near Macy’s.

“A phone call from Williams prompts the alleged shooter, Tyrone Brown, to exit the car and walk into Macy’s,” according to charging documents.

The men follow Pridget through the mall, reenter through Nordstrom after the killing and quickly exit on the opposite end of the shopping center.

“Our homicide detectives have been working tirelessly on this case since the night it happened,” said Chief of Police, Jim Johnson in a release to press. “The footage from the video cameras in and around the mall was critical in helping them solve the case. These arrests demonstrate the value of the legislation passed by the county several years ago requiring these cameras in shopping centers.”

Though relatively free of violent crime, this has not been the first murder to take place at Towson Town Center. In 2005, William Basset lost his life inside the same mall’s parking garage. As a direct result of that botched robbery attempt, County Council members saw fit to pass legislation that same year that now mandates malls to cover at least 75 percent of all outdoor property with cameras.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer