“Chasing a Killer” Part 2: Educating the Public


The Baltimore Police Department granted The Baltimore Sun exclusive access to the homicide unit as it investigated the killing of Kevin Cannady, a 29-year-old who was fatally shot on Sept. 21. The city of Baltimore has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation.

Sun reporter Justin Fenton accompanied detectives on the street, watched them pore over leads and interview suspects, and followed them as they picked up additional cases. The result is a fascinating inside look into a big city homicide investigation. It’s a five-part series and American Police Beat will be posting each part as they are published.

The military has been doing something similar for years with great success—embedding reporters with soldiers on a mission. More agencies should do the same.

Here’s Part II:

Chasing a Killer: Baltimore Detectives Hit the Streets to Find Witnesses to a Killing
by Justin Fenton


Detectives Thomas Jackson and Damon Talley returned to the homicide unit at Baltimore police headquarters around 11 p.m., about six hours after the fatal shooting of Kevin Cannady. Even at that hour, the unit hummed as other detectives pitched in to help with the case. Dispatch records had been pulled, reports on the victim and his associates had been run. A support staff member came by with the serial number for the recovered weapon.


The detectives had identified two potential suspects from surveillance footage: the man they believed to be the shooter, and the man who ran away with him. Fliers calling them “armed and dangerous” were being worked up.


Investigators from other squads stopped by Talley’s desk to pepper him with questions on the off chance there was a connection to a case they were working.


On the other side of Talley’s cubicle wall, the voice of Detective Sean Dallessandro offered assistance in running names of the possible suspects through the agency’s databases.


He began with the elusive suspect that Northwestern District Detective Joe Brown had called the Golden Child.


“I’ll start doing a work-up on this a— h—,” Dallessandro said.


He began his review, and cursed again.


“Why is this person on the street?” he said. “His rap sheet is 25 pages. Good job, judicial system!”


Talley said he was locked up for attempted murder in 2010. Dallessandro asked about the case.


“He just basically shot somebody,” Talley said.


“Oh, is that all?” Dallessandro asked.


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