The Dundalk Eagle
‘He was special, man’
Dundalk community mourns loss of Tony Valenti, who passed on March 4; brutally attacked on North Point Road on Feb. 26
Many members of the Dundalk community are mourning the loss of Tony Valenti, who died from stab wounds suffered in front of Papa’s Smokehouse Saloon on March 4.
According to police,
officers responded to an emergency call around 12:21 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 26 and found Valenti, 45, lying in the parking lot of the North Point Road establishment and suffering from multiple stab wounds. He was transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he remained until his death. It remains under investigation.
Valenti was a self-employed construction man, according to his mother, Sandra Byrd. “He could build anything,” she said.
“He just about had everything the way he wanted it. He was mortgage free, debt free. He had a lot of friends, more friends than I ever knew he had. People reached out to me from kindergarten that he still kept in contact with, and still met up with them.”
Valenti left behind two children, ages 27 and 24, according to Byrd. He was an avid outdoorsman, and loved spending time on the water crabbing. But his greatest love was hunting, she said, reminiscing about hunting trips with his father and his two sons.
Valenti was the oldest of two sons, Byrd said. Her youngest son, Eric Byrd, passed away in 2016. He was gunned down in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania sometime before 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 7. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to his bullet wounds. Byrd said that Eric Byrd’s passing had a tremendous impact on his older brother.
“For the longest time, I didn’t realize that Tony was hurting that much,” she said. “I knew he was hurting, but once Eric’s fiveyear anniversary had come about, he really was suffering from it. It was really haunting him.
“I know I can’t go through another one like this. Two of my kids … it’s like a nightmare. Eric was 30 and Tony was 45. Eric was a sweet kid, too. Everybody loved him, too.”
Rob Feigly, one of Valenti’s closest friends, told the Eagle that had a reputation around Dundalk for doing good construction work. Working on his own, he flipped homes, on top of other construction projects. He was in the process of flipping his fourth home.
“He did a lot of work for individual people. He did some big projects,” Feigley said. “He was very well known for just being a talented builder and working with his hands, especially with drywall. That was his specialty.
“He could build and do pretty much anything.”
Feigley said he and Valenti knew each other since childhood. Their friendship blossomed during their high school years, he said. Valenti was known for having an eccentric sense of humor, the kind of guy who could walk into a room and make people laugh. Over the years, the funny times and roaring laughter between the two, making hilarious takes of any ever yday life situation.
“We would have these longrunning jokes forever that would last,” Feigley said. “He was a ver y good friend. He was a ver y loyal friend.
“He always stuck by me when I had some downs, and I’ve had some downs in my life from time to time over the years for sure. He was just a very loyal and good friend with a great sense of humor. He was special, man.”
Feigley delivered a tribute for Valenti at his memorial service earlier this month. He shared some of those funny times he had with his best friend. Valenti could turn the smallest situation into something funny, Feigley said.
“We would just laugh about a lot of different things,” he said.
One of those was Valenti being proud to show the people he did around his own home. Feigley said he went to Valenti’s home one day, and Valenti showed him a new ceiling fan he had installed. The next time he went over, Valenti showed him the new ceiling fan he had installed – the same one he had already shown Feigley. The third time – Valenti showed Feigley the new ceiling fan he had installed. After the fifth time, Feigley said, he told Valenti that he had already seen the ceiling fan.
“He got that from his dad,” Feigley said. “I remember going over to his dad’s house, and his dad was showing me around and ever ything.
“I’m like ‘Hey, Tony, that is a great ceiling fan, but you showed me the last five times I’ve been over here,’ and then we started laughing. He made life funny. You’re real day-to-day interactions and happenings, he could just make those things funny.”
Feigley said he and Valenti were “polar opposites” in some ways. Feigley said he can’t build anything. He earned an engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University, and he’s more of an academic person. Valenti, on the other hand, could build anything. Feigley described himself as “a smart guy with no common sense whatsoever,” and wasn’t the kind of person to do things with his hands.
He shared a stor y of when Valenti called Feigley to go over to his home and fix and issue with his computer. Feigley said he turned it off and turned it on again, and it worked fine. That was another long-running joke, he said.
He echoed Byrd’s words about Valenti’s love of the outdoors. He loved to crab and he loved to hunt. Feigley said he spent days on the water crabbing with Valenti. The two celebrated one of Valenti’s birthdays by spending the day on the water, he said.
Feigley said he found out, like many other people, about Valenti’s death the following day. He said Valenti was a tough person, and he held on for nearly a week after his attack.
“He was one of the toughest people I ever met,” Feigley said. “I know that he gave it his all and did ever ything he can to fight.”
Detectives from the Baltimore County Police Homicide Unit are continuing the investigation into this incident and ask anyone who may have information to call 410-307-2020. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward when submitting tips through Metro Crime Stoppers.
Metro Crime Stoppers of Maryland, an organization that is separate from the Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County Government, offers rewards of up to $2000 for information that leads to the arrest and charges in connection with felony offenses.
Anonymous tips can be sent to Metro Crime Stoppers by phone, online or via mobile app.