Reginald "Reggie" McIver Jr., 13, who was shot in the head while defending his mother, was in critical but stable condition today at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore, a hospital spokeswoman said.
"He's doing much better," said Mattie McIver, Reggie's paternal grandmother. "His mother said he tried to sit up [yesterday]. . . ."
In a related development, police said a bail review hearing today in District Court was set for Kenneth B. Joyner, 21, of the 1400 block of Ashland Ave., Reggie's alleged assailant.
Joyner surrendered to police about 1 p.m. yesterday and was being held without bail at the Eastern District lockup. He was charged with assault with intent to murder and a handgun violation, police said.
"He turned himself in after seeing his face on the 12 o'clock news," Sgt. Roger Nolan said of Joyner.
Following the Tuesday night shooting, police issued an arrest warrant for Joyner and distributed his photo to local media.
Police said that about 9:44 p.m. Tuesday, Joyner and Reggie's mother, Denise Edwards, 32, had an argument in the 1200 block of Ensor St., around the corner from the 1100 block of E. Biddle St., where Reggie lives with his mother. Reggie, a seventh-grader at Robert Poole Middle School, heard about the dispute and went to help his mother.
"Squeaky [Edwards] and Kenny were arguing and Little Reggie had come out of the house," said the boy's friend and neighbor, Aaron Bell, 21. Edwards told her son to go to the house and call police, Bell said.
"As he was about to go . . . Kenny grabbed him and forced him down and shot him in the head on the steps," Bell said. "Then he said, 'Reggie are you all right? I didn't mean it.' "
"Kenny stood there for like 30 seconds" then put the gun in his pocket and walked away," Bell said.
"Reggie's head was bleeding on the steps and his mother tried to comfort him," Bell said. "He kept telling his mother, 'Don't leave me, Don't leave me.' "
"I really couldn't believe it," said Bell, explaining that all three "seemed to be close." Joyner was Edwards' boyfriend and all worked for Joyner's grandfather in a nearby neighborhood store, he said.
Mattie McIver, who uses a kidney dialysis machine, said that just before the shooting, Reggie had returned from a store where she sent him to get change for a $20 bill so that his father, Reginald McIver Sr., could have bus fare. "As soon as he got back, I heard . . . a gunshot," she said.
A neighbor told her her grandchild had been shot, she said.
The McIvers live in the the 1200 block of Ensor St.
Bell and Mattie McIver said the youngster is a good student who also enjoys playing basketball, football and baseball. "He's a pretty sharp guy," Bell said.
Mattie McIver said her grandson also "is a good drawer. He puts designs on people's shirts and pants legs. He draws so beautifully."