Six days before Christmas, four men tracked down 19-year-old Rodney Vest Pridget as he shopped at the Towson Town Center mall. One of them shot and killed him outside on a sidewalk, Baltimore County police say.
Four men, ranging in age from 19 to 44, were arrested this week and charged with first-degree murder. Police say they have not determined a motive for the Dec. 19 killing, though they said Pridget was clearly targeted.
"We do not know why Pridget was targeted, only that he was targeted," police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said. "They went to the mall looking for him."
Tyrone Chester Brown Jr., 19, of the 3900 block of Lowndes Ave. in the city, is accused of fatally shooting Pridget as he left the mall. Pridget was shot about 6:20 p.m. on a sidewalk outside a service entrance to Nordstrom.
Police also arrested Frank Theodore Williams, 31, of the 2900 block of Lakebrook Circle in Baltimore County, and two other city residents, Jermell Monte Brandon, 35, of the 700 block of Belgian Ave., and William Ward III, 44, of the 600 block of Cator Ave.
Ward was arrested Thursday, police said. Brown, Williams and Brandon were arrested Wednesday.
In a statement, Police Chief Jim Johnson said video footage from the mall "was critical in helping solve this case." Baltimore County law requires shopping centers with 15 or more retail businesses to install security cameras.
The footage showed that Brandon saw Pridget at a store inside the mall, police said. Investigators allege that he called Williams, who was in East Baltimore, and that Williams drove Brown and Ward to the mall after getting the phone call.
The surveillance video shows the suspects talking on cellphones while following Pridget through the mall, police said. It also shows them walking through the mall and parking garages after the shooting.
According to charging documents, Brandon went into the Downtown Locker Room store shortly after 5 p.m. with a female cousin carrying shopping bags. A few minutes later, Pridget and his girlfriend entered the store.
Brandon then called Williams, and they called each other several more times as Williams drove toward the mall, the documents say. Williams, with Brown and Ward, parked in a garage near Macy's, according to the documents.
Inside the mall, the suspects followed Pridget and his girlfriend, according to the documents. Wearing a hat, black ski mask and gray hooded sweatshirt, Brown shot Pridget after the two left Nordstrom and were walking toward Goucher Boulevard, according to the documents.
All four men also are charged with the use of a handgun during a felony crime. They are being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center.
Court records show Williams has a record of prior arrests and convictions, most recently receiving three years in prison for drug possession in 2009. While serving that sentence, he was convicted of assaulting a corrections officer. He also received six years in prison on drug charges in 2004, with four and a half years of that sentence suspended.
Brandon's most recent charges came in 2006 on drug distribution charges that were dropped. Separate handgun and robbery cases in 1999 and 2000 also were dropped, records show.
In September, Pridget was sentenced to three years of supervised probation stemming from an August 2010 incident, Baltimore court records show. He had pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and fourth-degree burglary, according to court records.
Pridget was part of a group of seven to 10 young men who robbed a man in the 4600 block of York Road, according to those documents. The records show the men asked the victim if he had "a problem" with one of the members of their group, then rushed inside his apartment and assaulted the man, threatening to "shoot up" the place and stealing an Xbox. In May, the victim picked Pridget and two others out of a photo lineup. Only Pridget was convicted.
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.