A voice for calm during Baltimore riots has died

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The stepfather of a black man whose death in police custody sparked riots in Baltimore has died.

Richard "Rick" Shipley spoke for the family of Freddie Gray, calling for calm in the city after his stepson suffered a fatal spinal cord injury in April 2015.

"Whoever comes to our city -- a city that we love, a city that we live in -- come in peace. If you are not coming in peace, please don't come at all," Shipley said as sections of the inner city burned. "Because this city needs to get back to work. The last thing that Freddie would want is to see the hard-working people of Baltimore lose their jobs and businesses because of this."

The next month, Shipley called for "peace in the pursuit of justice" after Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced criminal charges against six officers involved in Gray's arrest. And when prosecutors failed to win convictions, he said jurors had done the best they could. After one mistrial, he said: "If I'm not upset, why should you be?"

A funeral service was held at Shipley's church on Monday. The Gray family's attorney, Billy Murphy, tells The Baltimore Sun that Shipley died on Feb. 6 at the age of 60. Murphy said he did not know the cause, and The Sun could not reach family members, including Gray's mother Gloria Darden, for comment.


Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com