The MURDER of Albert Ward
On January 27, 1998, at approximately 12:00 PM three individuals, Robert Jones (AKA "Ricky"), Joe Scott and James Smith (AKA "River Jack"), were hanging out at a numbers spot located on the second floor of 2335 Eighth Avenue. The spot was owned and operated by a retired police officer from the 28th Precinct, Albert Ward. While Robert Jones was on the phone taking numbers, Joe Scott left to buy cigarettes. When he opened the door to leave, a young man walked in and sat at a table to play a number. Robert Jones put the phone down and asked the man what he was doing there, as they did not take bets from people they did not know. The man responded that he had been sent by the guy downstairs who told him that there was a numbers spot upstairs. When Robert Jones pressed him further the man said he was from the St. Nicholas Projects (known to police as the "St. Nick Houses"), that his name was "Tee" and that he played numbers on the east side.
In an effort to get rid of him quickly, Robert Jones agreed to take his number. The man handed Robert Jones a slip of paper with a number and the name "Tee" written on it. Robert told the man that he had written the number on the wrong slip and threw it away in the garbage. Robert Jones then wrote the number on a new slip, gave him a copy and the man walked out.
A short time later the owner of the numbers spot, Albert Ward, and a number of individuals who frequented the spot arrived to wait on the numbers. These individuals included Lorenzo Woodford (AKA "Red"), Dorothy Canady (AKA "Miss Cee Cee"), Matty Alex (AKA "Miss Matty"), Robert Jones' brother, Phillip Jones, his uncle, Richard Jones (AKA "Hammy"), and a young man named Augustus Brown (AKA "A.J.") who arrived with Lorenzo Woodford, but who was unknown to others. Lorenzo Woodford and Augustus Brown went into an adjoining room to conduct a drug deal.
Approximately an hour after "Tee" left the numbers spot, the doorbell rang and Richard Jones answered the door. The same man, "Tee", appeared at the door and again said that he wanted to play a number. When Richard Jones stated that he did not know the man and that he could not let him in, the man replied that he been let in earlier. While they were engaged in this discussion, Robert Jones looked over and asked who was at the door. The man peeked his head in the door and Robert Jones confirmed that he had been there about an hour earlier. "Tee" then went over to the desk where he had played the number and started to write as if to play another number. Robert Jones told him it was too late to play another number. Everyone sat around for a minute or two looking at the television and waiting for the number when there was a knock at the door. Richard Jones opened the door and asked, "Who are you?". Suddenly, "Tee" ran over and put a gun to Richard Jones' head and ordered him to open the door. A dark-skinned black man then entered the number spot and ordered everyone to get on the floor. Both men began yelling "where is the money?"
Robert Jones gave them the money in his pocket and a chain. "Tee" went into the room where Lorenzo Woodford and Augustus Brown were playing the poker machines while the dark-skinned black man began tying up people with duct tape. Albert Ward, the owner of the spot, then pulled a wad of money out of his shirt pocket and instructed Robert Jones to push it underneath his body as he lay on the floor.
Albert Ward then pulled out his gun, jumped up, put the gun to the back of the dark-skinned man's neck. The two men began to struggle and the dark-skinned man yelled: "he's got a gun, he's got a gun." As the two struggled, Albert Ward's gun went off. The man named "Tee" then fired a shot at Robert Jones but missed as Robert Jones jumped over and hid behind the bar. "Tee" then asked, "Who's got the gun?" The dark-skinned man responded saying as he pointed to Albert Ward, "he does, shoot him, shoot him." "Tee" fired his gun killing Albert Ward.
After the shooting, the two men immediately fled. Inside the numbers spot, some individuals ran toward an exit door that led to the roof and others ran downstairs. Robert Jones left and went downstairs where he asked a woman to call the police. He then approached a meter cop on the corner of 126th Street and told him that his friend who was an ex-cop had just been shot. The meter cop called for assistance and the police responded to the scene.