Northwood BP Gas Station: the site of two recent shootings

Two shootings within the past three months with one dead and two injured stains the BP gas station in the promising redeveloped Northwood Commons shopping center.


Alex Ederson

Northwood Commons’ BP gas station.

Alex Ederson, Staff Writer

Members of the Northwood community like Gus Sentementes, Northwood resident since 2006, have been frustrated with the BP gas station for the crime surrounding it and the redevelopment of Northwood Commons shopping center.

“We were upset that the station was not part of the greater redevelopment plan at the plaza… the station often looks like a dump. It remains an eyesore unlike the brand-new aesthetics we now have at the rest of the plaza,” Sentementes said.

Northwood residents have considered the BP gas station a detriment to the community and the response by university administration has called into question the security of the campus.

“The gas station in Northwood Commons has been really problematic,” said Jaden Dawson, president of the student government association. “It is very alarming… people [at times] don’t necessarily always feel safe on our campus.”

The gas station has been the epicenter of a string of incidents that have led to calls from the community for its closure. According to the Baltimore Police Department Open Crime Data, there have been nine incidents near the BP Gas Station in the last 365 days.

According to BPD, these incidents include:

  • A robbery and cutting on Feb. 8, 2022
  • A disorderly conduct call that led to a marijuana distribution investigation on Aug. 31, 2022
  • Drug dealing on the property on Oct. 21, Nov. 2 and Dec. 3, 2022
  • A fatal shooting on Dec. 11, 2022

When asked if the BP Gas Station had anything to do with the use of marijuana on campus, Chief of MSUPD and Head of Public Safety Lance Hatcher said, “I’m not able to…you know answer that question. I don’t have the I don’t have any empirical data that will support an answer one way or another.”

On Dec. 11, 2022, two members of the Northwood community were shot. There were around a dozen spent shells on the crime scene and in the wake, Albert Stevenson was killed and another unnamed member was non-fatally shot. This was what led to  calls from the community for the closure of the BP Gas Station.

Since the death of Albert Stevenson, there was another shooting at the gas station on Feb. 1. This incident left one person injured and continues to be an “eyesore” on a community looking for answers after the death of one of their own.

Roughly 80 calls for officer help have been made to the location in the last six months. Often from the property owners themselves.

Morgan State University put out this statement on Jan. 30 in response to the shooting on Dec. 11:

As a matter of practice, Morgan State University does not prohibit its faculty, staff or students from patronizing a local business. We do, however, encourage them to remain vigilant and mindful of their surroundings particularly when off-campus, and when there is a safety-related incident that occurs off-campus within a one-mile radius from University, a mobile safety alert is typically disseminated. Over the past year, we have not received any reported incidents involving Morgan students and the Northwood Commons business location in question, which is encouraging.  

Community members have been asking for the gas station to be closed through a charter within Baltimore City Code, otherwise known as the “Police Padlock Law.” Within the CIty Code it states:

  • “Subtitle 43 of the Baltimore City Code authorizes Baltimore’s Police Commissioner to order the closing (i.e. “padlock”) of a premise to the extent necessary to abate a public nuisance. A premise may be subject to a Padlock Order if the Commissioner determines that a public nuisance.”

According to Baltimore City Police Ordinance, “public nuisance” means any premises that, on 2 or more separate occasions within a 24- month period, were used:

  • for prostitution, lewdness, or assignation;
  • for illegal adult entertainment;
  • by persons who assemble for the specific purpose of illegally administering a controlled dangerous substance;
  • for the illegal manufacture or distribution of: (A) a controlled dangerous substance; or (B) controlled paraphernalia;
  • for the illegal storage or concealment of a controlled dangerous substance or controlled paraphernalia in sufficient quantity to reasonably indicate under all the circumstances an intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense: (A) a controlled dangerous substance; or (B) controlled paraphernalia;
  • for gambling;
  •  for storage or possession of stolen property;
  • for storage or possession of unregistered firearms;
  •  for furtherance of a crime of violence;
  • by persons who engage in a crime of violence on or near the premises; or
  • for criminal gang offenses prohibited under State Criminal Law Article 9, Subtitle 8.

There was a public nuisance hearing with the Northwood community scheduled for Jan. 25, but that has been postponed until further notice.

Sentementes said, “I used to occasionally use the gas station but have not since Mr. Al’s murder (the homicide victim in the Dec. 11 shooting)…I have seen activities there that made me worry it was a location that was always prone to become a live shooting zone, unfortunately.”

After the Feb. 1 shooting, no mobile safety alert was disseminated to inform the student body and surrounding community of any potential threats to their safety. This is in conflict with not only Morgan’s initial statement but also the Morgan State University Police Force General Orders Manual.

Section’s 2.600 and 2.602 states:


The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the release of information, and in particular, the release of information to representatives of the media. The release of information is expected to enhance the relationship between the police agency and the community which it serves, and to gain public support in the crime control effort.


  1. It is the policy of MSUPD to release information to the public in a timely and accurate fashion by assigning the duty of controlling and disseminating public information to one office or officer.
  2. It is the policy of MSUPD that, in the absence of a designated Public Information Officer, unit commanders will control the release of public information only with the permission of the Chief of Police or his designee.

The Morgan community is still in silence on the Feb. 1 incident. Hatcher, said, “The reason why we did not put out a public safety notice or safety alert was that we were not notified of the incident.”

When asked about what his department’s response to the second shooting in as many months would be, Hatcher said, “We did not have a response because it was out of our jurisdiction. The Shopping Center and the Baltimore City streets and alleyways and other properties are not Morgan’s jurisdiction.”

The new $15 million public safety building overlooks the Northwood Commons redevelopment and the area as a whole has many businesses that Morgan State students frequent i.e., Chipotle, McDonalds, and DTLR.

Hatcher continues, “There was no necessary response for us to make. Baltimore City was managing the investigation, managing the crime scene and the follow up. So therefore there was not a response needed by the Morgan State University Police Department.”

However, members of the student body remain concerned as to why they were not informed about the second shooting.

Dawson said, “We have had conversations with President Wilson and Student Affairs about misinformation of the student body and the fact that transparency also leads to a level of comfortability. We always encourage the Student Affairs portion of the university and university leadership to always be transparent with students.”

This is amid issues with communication regarding the student body and the addition of metal detectors in on campus student housing.

Dawson said, “We got a lot of pushback from that. I get complaints daily about that when in all actuality they were put there to make sure weapons are not being brought into residence halls and to ensure the safety of students, but students don’t receive that, you know, as a protocol for safety.”

Ensuring student safety on off-campus property is at the forefront for SGA and MSUPD alike. The Northwood Commons shopping redevelopment is not Morgan State property, so they have no legal jurisdiction over the premises.

Dawson recommends, “To stop endorsing [The BP Gas Station], to stop supporting that business until the university or the city can make a recommendation for them to no longer be an establishment there.”

Hatcher adds,”[what]  students can do is they can be aware of the surroundings. Not walk[ing] with both earbuds in their ears. Not concentrating too much on their phones when they’re out walking around, walk[ing]…in pairs or in groups, that sort of thing… In addition to that, we offer a safety escort program. So if someone’s studying, say up at CBEIS (Center for Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies) building and they want to get back down to the main campus where the dorms are then they would call our dispatch which is 443-885-3103 to request a an escort and either a security officer or police officer would respond to them. Either give them a ride or walk them to their destination.”

Calls continue to be made for the closure of the BP Gas Station as the semester progresses. Sentementes continues to fear for the safety of his community and children as the area continues under its current redevelopment plan.

“I think the community, including the Morgan community, is justified in demanding serious change from this status quo, and I would not want my own children setting foot on that property under current management,” Sentementes said.