Baltimore police on Thursday released a photo of a man they are calling a person of interest in connection with the Sept. 3 beating death of a man found bleeding from the head in an alley near the Baltimore City Jail.
Police said George Ted Yurek, 52, told officers responding to the scene about 10:25 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, that he had been attacked by an unknown male suspect the evening before he was found. A police spokesperson said he was taken to a local hospital where he died a short time later.
Jack Knapp, a friend of Yurek’s, told Baltimore’s Fox 5 News that he and his mother were with Yurek and some of Yurek’s family members, including Yurek’s mother, at the Grand Central Club, a popular gay bar on Charles Street, the evening before Yurek was found in the alley off of Brentwood Street and Yeager Street.
“We do have a photo of a person we’re referring to as a person of interest,” Det. Nicole Monroe, a Baltimore police spokesperson, told the Washington Blade on Thursday.
“We don’t know how he may relate to the Yurek case,” she said. “But we’re asking people for tips and we’re asking people for information,” said Monroe, who added that the person in the photo could have something to do with the murder or might just be a witness.
“But whatever the case, we want to identity him,” she said. “We want to talk to him.”
Police spokesperson T.J. Smith told the Baltimore Sun that Yurek had “separated himself” from the friends and family members he was with the night before and police were trying to figure out what prompted him to go to the area around Brentwood Avenue where he was attacked and which Smith described as “desolate” during the late night hours.
Monroe said police don’t have evidence at this time to indicate the murder was an anti-gay hate crime.
“But whenever someone has died at the hands of someone else it’s a murder and there’s nothing that’s off the table,” she said. “If we find out it was a hate crime we’ll pursue that vigorously as such. But right now we’re just trying to get information and piece together the last moments of his life.”
Among other things, Monroe said, investigators would be examining Yurek’s cell phone records to determine whether he might have met someone through a website or app and arranged to meet.
Knapp told Fox 5 News Yurek was a “kind, gentle man.” He told the TV news station in an on-air interview that Yurek’s last words to him were unforgettable.
“He said, I have to live a long time because I have to take care of my mother and she heard him say that,” Knapp said in the interview.
Police are calling on anyone with information about the case to call detectives at 410-396-2100 or to call Baltimore Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOOKUP, where they can remain anonymous.