Man charged in deadly homeless attack could be linked to others - WKRN News 2

Man charged in deadly homeless attack could be linked to others

Posted: Updated: Oct 19, 2012 10:43 PM CDT
Christopher Crowley, 29, faces one count criminal homicide. Christopher Crowley, 29, faces one count criminal homicide.
Robert Mitchell, 41, was found shot to death early Thursday morning. Robert Mitchell, 41, was found shot to death early Thursday morning.
Edward Matthews, left, and Albanus Kitaka were shot in November of 2009. Edward Matthews, left, and Albanus Kitaka were shot in November of 2009.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

A man charged in the deadly shooting of a homeless man early Thursday morning could be connected to other, similar attacks on homeless people in downtown Nashville.

Christopher Crowley, 29, was booked into the Metro jail Thursday afternoon on one count criminal homicide for the murder of Robert Mitchell.

Mitchell, 41, was shot once in the head while sitting on a bench at the intersection of James Robertson Parkway and 3rd Avenue North, across the street from the Metro Police Department.

Surveillance video from the intersection ultimately led to Crowley's identification and his arrest.

In the video, Crowley is shown as he drives up to where Mitchell was seated.  He gets out of his car and returns seconds later before speeding off.

From the video, police obtained the license plate number of Crowley's 2005 Nissan Altima.

That led detectives to Crowley's home located at the Brandywine Apartments off Edmonson Pike.

Crowley was taken to Metro General Hospital for a mental evaluation before he was taken jail.

Friends of Mitchell said he had a string of bad luck, but was a kind and thoughtful person. He worked as a dishwasher at Burger Up in the 12South Neighborhood. The staff called him "Remi."

Logan Methany met Mitchell while he was on the streets outside Methany's wife's apartment.
 
"You do not wish that upon anybody but especially somebody who literally needed our help and someone we were really pulling for," he said. "It is a hard thing to see on the news and think man that is Remi."

Burger Up's owner, Miranda Whitcomb Pontes, described Mitchell as "a kind, thoughtful human being."

Burger Up's management is working to locate Mitchell's family so they can organize a way to help with his final expenses.

Detectives are now looking into whether Crowley was involved in the November 2009 murder of 46-year-old Edward Matthews.

Matthews was also shot and killed while on a public bench.

Matthews was known as "Maxi" at Room in the Inn homeless shelter in Nashville.

"This became his community, he became a part of it and upon his death we realized the impact of his loss," Executive Director Rachel Hester said. "He didn't deserve the die the way he did and we wanted justice for him."

Police are also looking at another 2009 case where 60-year-old Albanus Kitaka was shot in the mouth while sleeping outside a building on 5th Avenue.

He was taken to the hospital and has since recovered.

Hester said if they shootings are connected, it is important to hold the person responsible accountable.

"For those who come to Nashville, who are experiencing homelessness or they come for tourism, they need to know we keep our streets safe for everyone," she said.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, in 2003, Crowley was arrested by Chattanooga police for DUI, underage drinking and reckless endangerment.

According to his Facebook page, Crowley went to high school in west Tennessee.

Sources say he graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in August of 2006 with a degree in computer engineering technology.

Metro police list Crowley as unemployed though a source close to the investigation says he was working odd jobs such as waiting tables and working as an actor part-time.

His Facebook page indicates he was an extra on the new TV show "Nashville."

Police say Crowley has refused to talk to homicide detectives and was placed on suicide watch at the Metro jail where he is being held on a $250,000 bond.

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