Map ser­vice cap­tures, posts im­age of shoot­ing

Cam­era record­ing for Bing Street­side passed by city homi­cide in April 2015

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Ian Duncan idun­can@balt­ twit­­can

A car that drove through Cur­tis Bay last year to record ground-level images for an on­line map­ping ser­vice cap­tured more than the streetscape.

The car, which recorded images for Bing Street­side, pho­tographed the body of a Bal­ti­more man mo­ments after he had been shot. Po­lice say Ricky Cham­bers Jr. was pro­nounced dead later at a lo­cal hospi­tal.

The se­ries of pic­tures, taken in April 2015 and merged to al­low a con­tin­u­ous vir­tual tour down Pen­ning­ton Av­enue, re­mained on­line Mon­day. Mi­crosoft, which owns Bing Street­side, said it would take the images down.

The images were brought to the at­ten­tion of The Bal­ti­more Sun by a mem­ber of the pub­lic. A po­lice spokesman said the de­part­ment was not pre­vi­ously aware of them.

Cham­bers, 24, was found shot shortly after 3:30 p.m. April 29, 2015, at Pen­ning­ton Av­enue and Hazel Street. It was two days after the Fred­die Gray ri­ots.

The images of­fer a glimpse into the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of a Bal­ti­more homi­cide — a scene or­di­nar­ily wit­nessed only by po­lice of­fi­cers and peo­ple who hap­pen to be nearby.

A po­lice cruiser blocks the en­trance to Hazel Street, and an of­fi­cer stands over the body. Blood is vis­i­ble on the road. On­look­ers gather.

The imag­ing car did not catch the shoot­ing. Nor did it stop — the se­quence of images con­tin­ues un­in­ter­rupted as the car drives on.

Mi­crosoft bills Bing Street­side as “the true-to-life ex­pe­ri­ence for ex­plor­ers ev­ery­where.”

Bal­ti­more po­lice spokesman T.J. Smith said the images were cap­tured al­most as soon as the shoot­ing took place, just be­fore Cham­bers was taken to the hospi­tal where he was pro­nounced dead.

If a body is go­ing to be left in a pub­lic place, Smith said, of­fi­cers have screens they put up to shield it.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Cham­bers’ death re­mains open, Smith said. He said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were con­tact­ing Mi­crosoft about re­mov­ing the images.

“It’s in­sen­si­tive to vic­tims’ fam­i­lies,” he said.

Later Mon­day, Mi­crosoft said it had been no­ti­fied and was in the process of tak­ing the images down.

Street View Fun, a blog that posts in­ter­est­ing images from the sim­i­lar Google Street View ser­vice, re­ported images from 2011 that ap­peared to be a homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Huntington, W.Va.. Some of those images are still avail­able on Street View, but what ap­pears to be the body of a vic­tim has been blurred.

Mi­crosoft, which owns search en­gine Bing, said it would take down this and other images from Bing Street­side that show the af­ter­math of an April 2015 fa­tal shoot­ing at Pen­ning­ton Av­enue and Hazel Street. The vic­tim, Ricky Cham­bers Jr., was pro­nounced dead at a hospi­tal.

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