Police today were searching for a 21-year-old East Baltimore man on charges that he shot a 13-year-old boy who tried to defend his mother during a fight on the street last night.
The youth, Reginald McIver, was shot once in the head after he came to the aid of his mother, who was being assaulted on the street near their home by a former boyfriend, police said.
McIver, of the 1100 block of E. Biddle St., was in critical but stable condition this afternoon at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore.
Being sought in an arrest warrant for assault with intent to murder was Kenneth Bernard Joyner, of the 1400 block of Ashland Ave.
Homicide Detective Michael Crutchfield said Denise Edwards, 32, of the Biddle Street address, was arguing with a man in the 1200 block of Ensor St. at about 9:45 last night.
Reginald went to his mother's aid when the man began to hit her, Crutchfield said. The youth was near his home around the corner from Ensor Street when he heard about the argument, witnesses said.
Crutchfield said that, during a confrontation with Reginald, the man pulled out a handgun, forced the boy face down on some marble steps and shot him in the head. The man then ran south on Ensor Street toward Biddle Street.
Police said the suspect used a Derringer type of handgun.
Witnesses today said the gunman had struck Reginald's mother several times before the youth arrived and that the argument had been brief.
One witness said Edwards was able to "hold her own" against the suspect for a brief period.
"They were fighting, but it was mostly yelling and hollering at each other," said Raynard Smalls, who was visiting a friend in the area when the youth was shot. "When he hit her, she'd hit him back. Sometimes she'd hit him harder. But it was mostly arguing."
"They were loud and everybody could hear them," said Eric Gepner, who watched the incident from across the street.
Karen Stokes, who lives nearby, said she believed the man was armed during the argument and she called police before the shooting. "No one wanted to get too close to them. We all stood back."
Witnesses said the youth was tall for his age, but was not as big as the assailant. Witnesses estimated that the gunman was taller than 6 feet.
The gunman was not known in the neighborhood, witnesses said.
"It didn't seem right, but no one wanted to help him -- this young boy against a man with a gun," said one witness.
After the shooting, many witnesses scattered into houses and behind cars as the gunman fled.
"People knew he [the gunman] most have been crazy because he had just shot the kid," said one woman who saw the incident. "He was mad and probably scared. No one knew what he would do, or wanted to find out."