The husband of a Baltimore electrical engineer who was stabbed to death while giving money to a panhandler at the side of the road is begging for justice for his slain, generous wife.
"I don't want to beat myself up, but I feel somewhat responsible for letting that person get that close to my wife," Keith Smith told ABC News, reportedly choking with emotion. "It's just a lot right now going through my mind. That's why it's hard for me to sleep because now I'm trying to see how I could have did things differently, how I could have took another street. I'm just thinking of all kind of ways that my wife would still be here."
Jacquelyn Smith, 52, was on her way home from a family gathering with her husband when they saw a woman woman holding what appeared to be an infant and a cardboard sign that read, “Please help me feed my baby,” KUTV in Baltimore reports. Sitting in the front seat, she is said to have rolled down her car window to give money to the woman, when a man ran up to the car pretending to thank her for the generosity, police said, according to KUTV. After allegedly trying to steal her wallet, the man fatally stabbed Smith in the chest.
"She was trying to help someone out," her husband told ABC News. "I think the reality is, we forget about the times that we're living in. You may have the best intentions on helping this person, but when you let a person get into your safe zone, you're actually opening yourself up to whatever this person has intended for you."
He doesn’t believe that the baby the panhandler was holding was real.
"It must have been like a stuffed animal or something wrapped in a blanket. From where we were, it looked like a baby and we thought it was a baby."
The grieving husband also explained how the man that stabbed his wife preyed on their kindness.
"As she was handing her the money, the guy came to say 'Thank you,' and the woman was saying 'God bless you. God bless you,'" he recalled. "While we're looking at her saying 'God bless you' and my wife was handing her the money, he came over to the car and said 'Thank you' and then he started stabbing my wife and snatched her necklace off and ran."
Police are tracking to track down the man and woman involved.
During a Monday press conference, Interim Police Commissioner, Gary Tuggle said “They're using this ruse as panhandlers to get the attention of their would-be victims. We also want to caution the public about engaging with panhandlers in recognizing the fact not all of them have honest intent. Not all of them are in real need."
The attacker is being described as a man in his 30s, about 6 feet tall with a goatee. The woman, who appeared to be in her 20s, was about 5 feet, 4 inches tall and was last seen wearing a brown jacket.
Jacquelyn Smith is being remembered as a hardworking electrical engineer who worked at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, an Army facility. She and her husband are members of the Helping Hands Ministries Church, where her memorial service will be held later this week.
Anyone with information is urged to call Baltimore police at 410-396-2221 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP
[Photo Credit: Metro Crime Stoppers of Maryland]
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