Baltimore Police have arrested a 40-year-old Baltimore man in the fatal shooting of an off-duty Howard County sheriff’s deputy in the Federal Hill neighborhood early Friday morning.
Jewel Crowder was taken into custody without incident Friday around 5:30 p.m., police said. He is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 23-year-old Ryan Demby. Police confirmed a gun was recovered when Crowder was apprehended.
Police say Crowder shot Demby following an altercation inside a Federal Hill bar. Employees at the bar “did what they were supposed to do” and moved the individuals outside, where it continued, acting Commissioner Richard Worley said at a news conference Saturday.
The entire incident was captured on camera, Worley said, but he declined to provide details about why the fight began, how many individuals were involved and whether Demby was among them. Investigators identified Crowder using the footage along with witness testimony, Worley said.
City Councilman Eric Costello said Friday the shooting began with a fight just inside Wayward Bar & Kitchen. Security removed the parties involved, but the altercation carried over into the street, where Demby was shot multiple times.
A Baltimore Banner staffer who was across the street at the time of the shooting said he heard four or five shots, sending bystanders fleeing toward nearby establishments.
Mayor Brandon Scott called Crowder a “coward” and held the case up as another frustrating example of a simple conflict that ended with a loss of life.
“The most courageous thing that we can do, all of us, is find ways to peacefully resolve conflict,” Scott said.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball called Demby’s death a painful reminder that gun violence doesn’t know borders.
“Here I am from Howard County, and we are united in our sadness,” he said. “Our hearts weep for the Demby family, for our sheriff and the sheriff’s department, and for everyone whose life is going to be a bit more diminished because Ryan’s not in it.”
Ball put his hand on the shoulder of Howard County Sheriff Marcus Harris, who choked up as he shared memories of the young deputy during the news conference. Harris had known Demby since he was a baby and said the deputy was like a son to him. He chose to put him through the law enforcement academy and described him as a “peacemaker.”
“When I got the call, I didn’t believe it,” Harris said. “Such a good young man, not a troublemaker, just a good person.”
Demby was following in his father’s footsteps when he joined the sheriff’s office, Harris said. The deputy’s father, Sam Demby, also works for the department and participated in his son’s academy graduation in March. Both men worked in the domestic violence unit on separate squads.
Outside of work, Demby was an avid golfer, Harris said. He was a member of the golf team during his high school years at Calvert Hall, from which he graduated in 2017. During his time there, he overlapped with Christian Benford, now a cornerback with the Buffalo Bills.
Benford took to social media Friday to grieve Demby, referring to him as “my fallen king my fallen brother.”
“Cherish every moment with your loved ones/close ones,” Benford said in a post on his Instagram account.
Baltimore Banner reporters Justin Fenton and Hugo Kugiya contributed to this story.