Teen Arrested in Homeless Man’s Murder Was Removing His Face Tattoos, Police Say

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Christopher Straham, 19, post-partial tattoo removal, Courtesy BPD
Christopher Straham, 19, post-partial tattoo removal, Courtesy BPD

A 19-year-old man deemed “Public Enemy No. 1” by police earlier this week is now behind bars for allegedly stabbing an elderly homeless man to death in Southeast Baltimore.

The murder happened in broad daylight last Friday on Pulaski Highway near the Baltimore Highlands neighborhood. Police said they found a homeless 73-year-old man there who had been stabbed in the stomach around 4 p.m. Sadly, he died from his injuries in the hospital. Authorities haven’t identified the victim because they still need to notify his family, but they said in a release that he’s from Hungary.

They did, however, name 19-year-old Christopher Straham as the alleged killer on Monday, labeling him their most recent “Public Enemy No. 1” at a press conference. At the conference, they showed surveillance video of the horrific murder taking place. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis described the act as “so egregious that it shocks our community” and said Straham is “without a conscience.”

Last night, witnesses helped police track down Straham down on Orleans Street in Southeast Baltimore, several blocks away from the scene of the murder. Officers served him an arrest warrant and detained him without incident.

Upon booking him, police spokesman T.J. Smith noted that Straham had removed half of the ink from his face in the last few days in an effort to make himself less conspicuous. Here’s a mugshot of Straham released by police this morning compared with an older picture from a previous arrest.

Christopher Straham, 19, before and after, Courtesy BPD
Christopher Straham, 19, before and after, Courtesy BPD

As you can see, he had two face tattoos, one of a heart on the left side of his face and another sporting his initials, “CS,” on the right side. It appears he successfully had the heart removed, but couldn’t quite get rid of the letters.

Straham is charged with first- and second-degree murder, armed robbery, theft of less than $100 and several other offenses.

Court records show he was arrested this past July for another violent run-in on charges of second-degree assault, carrying a switchblade, possessing a dangerous weapon with intent to injure and concealing a dangerous weapon. However, the charges were dropped in that case and Straham was released. According to the Sun, State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie said that happened after the victim and witnesses never showed up in court.

The murder wasn’t the only heinous act committed against an elderly person in Baltimore last week. That same day, now-retired City Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector was assaulted and carjacked at her parking garage in an upscale Inner Harbor community. Luckily, garage employees were able to stop the perpetrators from escaping with her car, and police managed to capture the alleged perpetrators – two teens, ages 13 and 15.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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