Baltimore woman stabbed to death after she stopped and lowered car’s front passenger side window to give money to panhandler

Jacquelyn Smith rolled down her window to give money to a woman she thought was holding a baby. But she was stabbed when a man approached her car and tried to steal her wallet


                            Baltimore woman stabbed to death after she stopped and lowered car’s front passenger side window to give money to panhandler

A Harford County woman was stabbed to death in East Baltimore, Maryland, after she reportedly stopped her car and rolled down the window to help someone she thought was in need. The 52-year-old victim was identified as Jacquelyn Smith, with police saying the incident unfolded at around 12:30 am on Saturday, December 1, in the 1000 block of Valley Street.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Smith had been returning home with relatives after dancing at the American Legion — where she and husband Keith had brought daughter Shavon to celebrate her 28th birthday —when she noticed a young woman on the footpath.

The woman appeared to be holding a baby, Keith said, and even had a sign that read, "Please help me feed my baby." He said he felt uncomfortable rolling down the window but his wife held out money for her from the passenger seat because she "felt moved to give her some money".

Police say a man who was around 30-years-old then approached the car to thank the family but lunged for Smith's wallet once he got close. A struggle then ensued between the two, with the man then pulling out a knife and stabbing Smith in the chest before fleeing the scene with the woman. They got away with her pocketbook and her necklace.

Smith was rushed to the John Hopkins Hospital for treatment but despite doctors' best efforts, she succumbed to her injuries two hours later. Keith said he even heard the woman say something after his wife got stabbed, recalling, "This girl actually said, 'God bless you'."

Speaking about the incident, Jeremy Silbert of the Baltimore Police Department said, "This was a good Samaritan who saw an individual holding a sign, who appeared to be down on her luck. So, they stopped the car and gave her money."

Smith's husband now wants to get a law passed to ban panhandling in the city (Source: Metro Crime Stoppers of Maryland)
Smith's husband now wants to get a law passed to ban panhandling in the city (Source: Metro Crime Stoppers of Maryland)

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she had spoken to Keith about his wife's tragic killing, calling it "unconscionable". She was quoted saying, "You've got people who've got warm hearts who want to roll down their windows and give to people. This incident that occurred this past weekend is unconscionable."

While the Sun cited that the city's code already prohibits soliciting money "from any operator or occupant of a motor vehicle that is in traffic on a public street, whether in exchange for cleaning the vehicle’s windows or otherwise," Keith said he wanted to get a law passed in his wife's memory that banned panhandling altogether.

"Something needs to be done because now you don’t know whether or not you’re going to give and this person’s going to take your life or they’re going to say thank you," he said. "There are some desperate people. They don’t need help; they’re trying to hurt you."

The man was described as a black male in his 30s, approximately 6' tall, and sporting a goatee. The woman was described as a black female in her 20s, approximately 5'4'' tall, and wearing a brown jacket. Detectives have asked that anyone with information contact (410) 396-2100.