Census Worker Shot, Killed in Baltimore

By BEN NUCKOLS
|  Monday, Jun 14, 2010  |  Updated 8:01 PM EDT
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Census Worker Shot, Killed in Baltimore

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A U.S. Census Bureau worker from Baltimore was shot and killed while working in the city, but authorities said Monday they did not believe his slaying had anything to do with his job.

Spencer Williams was shot several times inside his car on the afternoon of June 7 in east Baltimore after he gave a co-worker a ride home, police and Census officials said. He died Friday, two days after his 23rd birthday.

Police have no suspects and haven't determined what provoked the slaying. But they don't believe the perpetrator is someone Williams interacted with professionally.

"There's no indication that this incident was related to his occupation," said Detective Jeremy Silbert, a police spokesman.

Williams was a team leader who supervised about 10 Census takers as they knocked on doors collecting information from people who didn't return their Census forms, said Fernando Armstrong, a regional Census director based in Philadelphia. The team worked in east Baltimore, which includes some poverty-stricken neighborhoods known for gun violence.

"It's a very, very difficult situation for the family and for the people that got to know him and really enjoyed working with him," Armstrong said. "This job was very important to him. He was doing very well -- a very motivated and enthusiastic young man."

Williams was the eighth Census employee to have died on the job since workers began knocking on doors in late April, Census bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner said. The other seven were killed in car accidents. Another worker was slain off-duty in a domestic incident, Buckner said.

Violence directed at Census workers is not unusual. There have been 252 incidents since April in which workers were threatened, Buckner said. That includes 11 times in which shots were fired and 86 times in which workers were threatened with weapons, he said.

There have been 87 homicides in Baltimore so far this year, including 16 since Memorial Day weekend. The vast majority of homicide victims in Baltimore have criminal records, but Williams did not, according to online court records.
 

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