A Tragic Loss

Prince George’s community activist Greg Hall, who was nominated to be a delegate from District 24 but was rejected by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2012 based on his criminal history, died in a car accident last night in Capitol Heights.

A Prince George’s County community activist and former drug dealer who unsuccessfully sought a seat in the Maryland State House died in a vehicle crash early Monday, authorities said.

Gregory Antoine Hall, 45, was driving westbound on Walker Mill Road in Capitol Heights about 2:50 a.m. when he was struck head-on by an eastbound SUV that had crossed into Hall’s lane of traffic, county police said in a statement.

Hall was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the striking vehicle suffered injuries that were not expected to be life-threatening, police said, as did the driver of another car, which the first vehicle sideswiped. Investigators are looking into whether alcohol or speed were factors in the crash.

Maryland politicians remembered Hall on Monday night as someone who had overcome a troubled past and used his experiences to encourage young people to make better choices.

“Greg Hall had made tremendous strides in his life,” said Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s). “We all knew about some of the difficulties he had, but he made tremendous strides in turning his life around, and he was doing good work in the community. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

In 1992, as a 21-year-old crack dealer, Hall took part in a gun battle that killed a seventh-grade honors student who was leaving church with his family. Hall was charged with murder and spent 40 days in jail. But the charge was withdrawn after ballistics tests showed that the fatal bullet came from a different gun. Hall was convicted of a separate, misdemeanor gun violation.

Since then, Hall had opened his own business, worked as an aide to then-County Council member William A. Campos (D) and become a well-known advocate for some of the county’s lowest-income neighborhoods.

In 2010, he ran for state delegate, losing the Democratic primary by a few hundred votes. Two years later, after first-term Del. Tiffany T. Alston (D) was ousted from office in a corruption scandal, the Prince George’s County Democratic Committee nominated Hall to replace her. But then-Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) rejected the nomination, citing Hall’s criminal past. Hall ran for delegate again in 2014 but lost in the primary.

I didnt know Hall, but people whose opinions I value and respect expressed tremendous admiration for him. Any loss like this is a tragic one. Condolences to his family and friends.