High-Profile Baltimore Politician Is Murdered

Published September 22, 2008

Posted Sept. 22, 2008 – Former Baltimore City Councilman Ken Harris, who was revered as a community leader who fought tirelessly for the city’s African-American residents, was shot and killed Saturday night outside a jazz club.

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Baltimore Police spokesman told local TV stations that the 45-year-old husband and father of two had wandered into the New Haven Lounge nightclub to visit the owner, who was a friend of his, when three masked men shot him in the chest in an apparent robbery attempt.

Harris was attempting to borrow a corkscrew, police said. The spokesman said that when Harris turned away from the gunmen, he attempted to run back to his car, and the thugs blasted him. According to the spokesman, Harris got in his car and was able to drive a short distance before stopping. He was transported to Johns Hopkins hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m.

"I know the owner and Ken Harris real well.  I live two blocks away," said Delegate Curt Anderson.  "I can't give up on my community.  I know the police are doing everything they can."

Harris was known in the area as a community organizer, who unsuccessfully ran for city council president in 2007.

"If I had a black flag that I could just put across the city of Baltimore, I would.  let the city, let the world know that we've lost a great leader," said Rev. Charles Neal. "To do this to a man who loves the city of Baltimore?  You can't explain that.  There's no explanation for that," Neal said.

Harris started a program sending successful African-American men into city schools to talk about overcoming the odds. He grew up in the Park Heights neighborhood, graduating from Dunbar Senior High School. He then attended Morgan State University.

He leaves behind his wife Annette, and two children.

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Written by BET-Staff

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