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Court Records Suggest Morgan State Student Killed In Botched Drug Deal

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) -- Investigators suspect the murder of a Morgan State University student was the result of a botched drug deal, according to court documents obtained by WJZ.

Those suspicions were detailed in the charging documents for Kevin Sharp, a 22-year-old Towson man accused in the shooting death of Barry Ransom, a 21-year-old Philadelphia native and Morgan State accounting major who was killed last week.

Sharp remains in custody at the Baltimore County Detention Center while awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge in connection with Ransom's killing.

Reached by phone Monday, Ransom's parents released a statement to WJZ asking for privacy and support as they grieve the sudden loss of their son. They did not wish to comment on the new developments.

"Barry was a loving, caring young man who was a senior majoring in accounting at Morgan State University," the family's statement said in part. "He has made many accomplishments within his 21 years of life. The grief is too much to bear and we have too many questions that need to be answered."

The shooting happened shortly before 10:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in the parking lot of The Shops at Kenilworth, a shopping center located on Kenilworth Drive in Towson, according to Baltimore County police.

Officers answering a call about gunfire found an unoccupied car on the curb of the parking lot with its engine running. Ransom was found in the woods nearby, yelling for help and suffering from a gunshot wound. He later died of his injuries.

Inside the car, investigators found evidence of a bullet hole, as well as a substance that appeared to be marijuana throughout the vehicle, according to charging documents.

Based on surveillance video recovered from the scene, investigators spoke with two witnesses who told police they had met with a stranger to sell him marijuana. At some point, they said, the buyer pulled a gun on them.

Witnesses told police a struggle ensued inside the car and Ransom was shot when he and the buyer got out of the back of the car. Afterward, they said, the suspect took a backpack and a wallet from the car and fled on foot.

According to court documents, witnesses said the suspect -- described as a man in his 20s wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt -- had arranged over the phone to meet Ransom in the area.

"They advised that from their communication with the victim, they believed that the suspect was a new buyer and not someone the victim had dealt with previously," the charging documents state.

Through phone records, police found Ransom had been in contact with a specific phone number several times before the shooting. They matched that phone number with one listed for Sharp, whose listed address was less than a mile from the scene.

Additionally, a 911 call led police to a gray hooded sweatshirt, which had been discarded at an apartment complex less than a half-mile from the shooting scene.

As investigators zeroed in on Sharp, they recovered more surveillance footage. According to charging documents, the footage showed Sharp walk away from his apartment complex the night of the murder and then returning later on.

Court documents allege that a ping of Sharp's cell phone data indicated he was present at the crime scene at the time of the shooting. The records suggested his phone was switched off about 10:57 p.m.

A search of the 22-year-old's apartment found a backpack containing a large amount of a substance believed to be marijuana, as well as items belonging to witnesses in the case, court records show.

Confronted with photos of Ransom, as well as a witness's ID that was allegedly covered from his apartment, Sharp said he didn't recognize the men and denied any knowledge of the shooting.

Sharp was scheduled to appear in court Monday for a bail review hearing, but the hearing has been postponed until Tuesday afternoon.

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