Woman known for kind­ness killed while help­ing pan­han­dler


As­so­ci­ated Press

— Rel­a­tives of a Mary­land woman who was knifed to death in front of her fam­ily while try­ing to help a pan­han­dler said Mon­day that she died the way she lived: look­ing out for oth­ers and try­ing to be kind.

Au­thor­i­ties say Jac­que­lyn Smith, an elec­tri­cal engi­neer from Mary­land’s Har­ford County, low­ered her car’s front pas­sen­ger side win­dow in Bal­ti­more early Satur­day to give money to a young woman who ap­peared to be hold­ing a swad­dled in­fant and car­ried a card­board sign read­ing: “Please help me feed my baby.” Au­thor­i­ties say a man ap­proached the car with the woman for the cash hand­off. Af­ter a strug­gle over Smith’s wal­let, he stabbed Smith and fled on foot with the pan­han­dler.

Smith’s griev­ing 19-yearold son, col­lege sopho­more David Hood, de­scribed his mother as a strong-willed woman who al­ways taught her chil­dren about the im­por­tance of gen­eros­ity and fam­ily. He told The As­so­ci­ated Press that she was in the car with her step­daugh­ter and her hus­band when she was fa­tally stabbed in the torso. Her hus­band, Keith, was be­hind the wheel at the time.

“I think it was a split-sec­ond de­ci­sion of want­ing to help some­body else. She re­ally cared for ev­ery­body. She loved ev­ery­one and was very com­pas­sion­ate,” her son said in a phone in­ter­view from the fam­ily’s home in Aberdeen, a sub­urb some 25 miles north­east of Bal­ti­more.

There have been no ar­rests in the mur­der of the Good Sa­mar­i­tan. A law en­force­ment team went Mon­day to the East Bal­ti­more in­ter­sec­tion where Smith was slain to


hand out fly­ers and can­vass res­i­dents. The young woman in­ves­ti­ga­tors are seek­ing ap­peared to be about 20 and the man was roughly 30.

Mayor Cather­ine Pugh de­scribed Smith’s slay­ing as a “ter­ri­ble tragedy” and said the city was “de­ploy­ing all avail­able re­sources within our po­lice de­part­ment to find and bring to jus­tice those re­spon­si­ble for this sense­less act.” She urged al­tru­is­tic peo­ple to be cau­tious.

“Par­tic­u­larly in this sea­son when we are in­clined to give to those we per­ceive to need a help­ing hand, we urge all to ex­er­cise ex­tra judg­ment and cau­tion,” Pugh said in a Mon­day email.

Smith’s hus­band, Keith, told WMAR-TV that she felt moved by the sight of what ap­peared to be a strug­gling young mother with a baby stand­ing by an in­ter­sec­tion on a cold driz­zling night. Af­ter his wife waved the young woman over, he said a man emerged “out of nowhere” and came walk­ing over to their car along­side the pan­han­dler. With the car’s win­dows down, he said the man asked him if he could thank his wife.

“And within that split sec­ond this guy com­mences to stab my wife,” he told WMAR.

The Bal­ti­more Po­lice De­part­ment said the male sus­pect “reached in to grab the fe­male vic­tim’s wal­let when a strug­gle en­sued.” He stabbed her dur­ing the strug­gle, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice state­ment.

Jane Pil­i­avin, a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of so­ci­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin who authored a book on emer­gency in­ter­ven­tion, said women are more likely to re­spond to a child in trou­ble than are men. She didn’t be­lieve there would be any sus­tained lo­cal im­pact mak­ing peo­ple less in­clined to as­sist pan­han­dlers af­ter the Good Sa­mar­i­tan’s mur­der.

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