An artist and Macy’s window display designer found dead in his Lower Nob Hill apartment Friday evening had suffered “obvious signs of trauma” and is being treated as a homicide victim.
A neighbor said that he had last seen his friend, who he identified as Jack Baker, on Feb. 4 and became concerned when his dog started sniffing and scratching at Baker’s door down the hallway. That neighbor, Mason Bowling, called police Friday to check on Baker.
When police arrived at 1035 Bush St. about 6:14 p.m., they discovered Baker’s body had suffered “obvious signs of trauma,” according to police Sgt. Michael Andraychak. Police have not released any further details about the killing.
Baker, who police said was about 65 years old, had arranged window displays at a Macy’s department store in San Rafael where he worked for decades, Bowling said. He also drew and painted. Some of his mural work was at the nearby Hotel Mayflower, where a woman at the desk refused to comment about Baker.
One of Baker’s sketches, a carefully framed piece on the wall of Bowling’s apartment, portrayed Bowling’s dog, Lola, in three poses. It was that same dog that sniffed at Baker’s door, alerting his owner of a problem.
“My dog kept going down to his apartment,” Bowling said. “I hadn’t seen in him a while and I just kept thinking, ‘There’s something wrong with Jack.’”
Baker kept to himself, people in the neighborhood said, yet neighbors were used to seeing him every day. He would leave Bowling pancakes outside his apartment door on Sundays.
“He didn’t drink. He didn’t smoke. He just kept to himself,” Bowling said. “I can’t imagine what happened.”
Police are asking anyone with information to come forward. The department’s anonymous tip line is (415) 575-4444.