Man Steps From Auto, Shoots And Kills Annapolis Teen

December 21, 1990|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,SUN STAFF

A teen-ager was shot and killed last night outside an Annapolis apartment house.

Darryl Downs, 18, of the 300 block Ternwing Drive, Arnold, was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:55 p.m.

According to eyewitnesses, two male passengers rode up in the 1800 block Copeland St. at the Bywater Mutual Homes in a maroon Reliable Cab vehicle just after 5 p.m., got out and fired two shots. Downs was hit once in the lower back of the head.

The two men got back in the cab and rode away, witnesses said.

"It happened a few feet away from my house," said a neighbor who asked not to be identified. "I've never seen anybody on death's bed before."

Downs was found by police sprawled on his back on Terry Holiday's front lawn.

"I'm in here making Christmas cookies, and I had no idea anything was going on until I saw the police car, the fire truck and the police and the ambulance," said Holiday.

Downs is the fifth homicide in Annapolis in 1990, a record for the city.

Three people were slain in all of 1989, which was a record high until this year.

Downs was a senior at Broadneck High School. He entered the school in the 10th grade after graduating from Severn River Junior High School. He played junior varsity football for Broadneck in 1988.

Broadneck principal Lawrence Knight described Downs as an average student who came to class but didn't participate in extra-curricular activities.

Downs was enrolled in Broadneck's special program for troubled students.

Assistant football coach Bruce Villwock was his mentor and was helping him complete his courses to graduate, Knight said.

"He seemed to be making progress to graduation," Knight said.

Villwock said Downs started the year with almost-perfect attendance. "I was overjoyed. I thought just maybe I'd reached him. He seemed to make a turnaround. Right before Thanksgiving, he just stopped coming to class."

That was the last time Villwock saw Downs.

"Whenever you lose one, whether it's alcohol or an accident or this, you wonder if you could have said something to save them," said Villwock, his voice choked with emotion.

Police were questioning suspects last night. The gunman is described as black and light-skinned, medium height and weighing 135-140 pounds, with short black hair and a thin mustache. He was wearing a light-green hooded sweat jacket and faded blue jeans. His accomplice is described as black and dark-skinned, about 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds. He had noticeable dark spots on his face and a thick mustache. He was wearing a black fake leather jacket. Both men are in their early 20s.

The weapon was described as a black, small-caliber handgun.

Bywater Mutual Homes is a private housing development of 118 homes and apartments located off Forest Drive. In recent years it has been the scene of violence that has prompted residents' demands for more police patrols to combat drug activity.

David Hudson, of the 1800 block E Copeland St., came home from work last night to find police cars in front of his house. Hudson, who moved there from Bay Ridge Avenue, complained about constant fights: "I moved here about a year ago. Them people down here are crazy. Every night, you hear the guns. In the summer, it's even worse."

In April, about 60 residents gathered at the Bywater Boys and Girls Club on Copeland Street to ask then-Police Chief John C. Schmitt for more police protection after shootings in January and March. Last year 400 people gathered in front of the club to protest drug activity.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, said residents and police were stunned by the shooting.

"The sentiment is enough's enough. There's been too much of this already in the community. It's ironic that on the night the Committee for a Drug Free Annapolis was holding a rally (at Annapolis High School), this shooting took place," Snowden said.

Staff writer Staff writers Paul Shread, Lorraine Mirabella, JoAnna Daemmrich and Arthur Hirsch contributed to this story.

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