The husband of a Baltimore Police lieutenant is among the city’s latest homicide victims.
James Blue III, 43, was fatally shot outside a home in the 1400 block Walker Ave. in Northeast Baltimore Tuesday afternoon. Blue had recently purchased a home in the area, and was in the process of fixing it up, his family said. He was waiting for a refrigerator to be delivered and was talking on the phone with his son, who recently transferred to Virginia Tech to play college football, when he was gunned down.
“He is devastated,” Blue’s sister, Shelonda Stokes, said of her nephew, Stokes is president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.
She called her brother a devoted father, brother and son. He met his wife, Lt. Lekeshia Blue, who is assigned to the department’s internal affairs unit, in high school. The couple have three children.
Blue had worked for 20 years as a conductor for Amtrak, but “he wanted to continue to evolve,” his sister said. “He always wanted to grow and do more and learn.”
Baltimore Police have not released any suspect information, or a motive.
Deputy Commissioner Brian Nadeau, who oversees the Public Integrity Bureau where Blue’s wife is assigned, said Wednesday that, preliminarily, investigators do not believe Blue was targeted because of his wife’s work as a police officer.
Blue’s death is the latest in an especially deadly start to the year when the city had counted 32 homicides, including a beloved Little Italy restaurant general manager, a grandmother who worked for Door Dash and another man who recently became a new father.
The city has only counted more than 32 homicides in January was in 1973 when 35 people were killed, and the city’s population was much larger.
On Wednesday morning, members of the Baltimore Fire Department scrubbed the street outside Blue’s new house with bleach and used a fire hose to wash blood from the road. A nearby parked car sported a dent caused by a projectile — evidence of the brazen shooting the day before.
Neighbors in the 1400 block of Walker Ave. described the area as a nice street subject to petty theft on occasion, but one that’s largely spared from violence. But in the past six months, neighbors said a shooting occurred in a nearby parking lot and a house was shot at numerous times.
Neighbors said they heard six to nine shots ring out around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and security cameras filmed a man wearing a blue face mask and a dark hoodie running from the scene.
Daniel Rivera had just entered his house when he heard a gunshot. He came back out and saw a man lying in the street struggling to breathe. Rivera ran to the man but was told by neighbors not to touch him, a decision he said now haunts him.
“Did he feel alone?” Rivera said. “Did he need a human voice to say ‘I’m getting help?’”
Neighbors gathered in the minutes after the shooting around the fallen man, who lay next to his open car door. The car’s driver and passenger-side windows were shot out, Rivera said.
Blue’s mother, Shelley Forbes-Eford, said her grandson was on the phone with his father and heard the gunfire. He tried calling his father back, and then called his mother.
Blue loved to watch his son play football and would travel for all of his son’s games, the family said. A 2015 Baltimore Sun first team All Metro player as a wide receiver at Mount Saint Joseph, Jadan Blue played for Temple University before transferring to Virginia Tech earlier this month.
Forbes-Eford said the family recently gathered for the holidays. Her son especially loved his mother’s sweet potato pie.
“He was funny, like a comedian,” Forbes-Edford said. “He had nicknames for all of us. He was just fun.”
Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.