A 23-year-old West Baltimore man wearing a bulletproof vest was killed in his front yard early today in a shootout in which an estimated 70 shots were fired.
Police said the man, Sheldean Simon of the first block of N. Kossuth St., exchanged shots with at least two men firing semiautomatic weapons from across the street. Two handguns, including one semiautomatic, were found near Simon's body, said Homicide Detective Harry Edgerton.
Police said they had no motive in the shooting, which happened about 2:10 a.m. Simon was hit by at least three bullets and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Police said errant bullets struck four parked cars and seven houses on the usually quiet street, which runs southwest from Caton Avenue near Hilton Street.
Some cars were hit on both sides, indicating that Simon returned fire on the attackers.
The shooting stunned neighbors, with one comparing the noise to a fireworks display.
"I heard the shots and hit the floor," said Marian Smith, a neighbor. "I haven't been back to sleep yet. It's very upsetting."
Smith said a bullet left a hole in the driver's door of her car.
George G. Logan, who lives across the street from Simon's house, spent part of the morning changing the tire on his car, which was hit by a bullet.
"I was lucky," Logan said, noting that other cars were more heavily damaged.
Another neighbor, Valerie E. Burks, said Simon had been a difficult child who dropped out of school.
"I tried to keep him in school," Burks said. "He wouldn't go. I feel like I failed."
"Who would go out there shooting in the street like that?" Burks said. "We never had anything like that in the neighborhood."