City police ask for help in teen’s murder probe

As loving survivors mourn the loss of 17-year-old Rakim Lamont Russell, police continue to investigate his murder early Sunday, the first of two as the week began and the third in Salisbury this year.

A Wicomico High School student, Russell was killed by a bullet after gunshots were aimed at America’s Best Value Inn on North Salisbury Boulevard from an area near Mattress World nearby.

Friends were gathered for a party at the hotel when the shooting occurred, Salisbury Police said.

Russell, known as Roc, was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. His body was sent to the medical examiner’s office in Baltimore for an autopsy, police said.

Witnesses said  they heard four or five shots, causing those at the hotel to scatter. Afterward, Russell, who lived on Nentego Drive in Fruitland, was found lying in the parking lot.

Police Chief Barbara Duncan said Russell’s was the second of three murders in 2015. The first one was May 17 when 20-year-old James Skinner was discovered dead at his home on Bryn Mawr Avenue. The third was Monday, near Baker Street, when 21-year-old Dommeir D. Deshields of the 700-block of Church Street was shot multiple times as  he walked, around 11:30 a.m.

On July 27, Lee Harcum was murdered in a watermelon field on the family farm in Mardela Springs, but that homicide  was outside city limits, Duncan explained.

Russell’s mother, Shanell Johnson, who is planning her son’s funeral,  said publicly her son wanted to be a successful rapper or hip hop artist and that he promised to take care of her once he was successful.  Her immediate goal for him was seeing him complete high school.

Johnson is remembering her son as a peacemaker who had no enemies. The bullet that killed him wasn’t meant for him, she said.

Salisbury Police were assisted by members of the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, Delmar Police Department, Fruitland Police Department, Maryland State Police and a K-9 Unit from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers of the Lower Eastern Shore at 410-548-1776. A reward of up to $1,000  is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the crime.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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