Expedito "Pedro" Lugo lived for baseball. He'd take his wooden bat and go to Patterson Park and play.
"He loved baseball," says his sister, Ynez Lugo, 22. "He wanted to be a baseball star."
Today, baseball has been put on hold for the Pedro Lugo, who is fighting for his life. He was in critical condition and on a life-support system today at the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.
On Friday, three juveniles beat Pedro Lugo with his own bat.
Police said that about 3 p.m. Friday, Pedro Lugo, 24, of the 400 block of N. Kenwood Ave., was about to return from the park, which is three blocks from his home.
Three juveniles approached Pedro Lugo at the eastern edge of the park and one of them asked for his baseball bat, said Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman.
Pedro Lugo handed over the bat to one of the three youths, police said, and when he asked for it back, the juveniles started kicking and beating him. "The one with the bat struck him in the head at least twice," Hill said.
"He was lying down huddled up in a fetal position," said one neighbor who arrived after the beating. "His skull was split open."
Edward Eugene Schisler, 39, who called police, said he heard one of the juveniles say, " 'Yeah, yeah, I hope he dies.' "
"I ran over there to see if I could do anything," Schisler said. "He was just lying there, not saying anything, not moving. Just bleeding."
Later Friday, police charged one 15-year-old boy, believed to have swung the bat, with assault with intent to murder in connection with Pedro Lugo's beating. About midnight, police charged another 15-year-old boy with assault.
Both boys were charged as juveniles and released in the custody of their parents pending action by juvenile authorities.
Police are still seeking a third juvenile, Hill said.
"There's no real motive," Hill said. "They didn't steal or take anything. It's a real shame."
Yesterday, Pedro Lugo's family, natives of the Dominican Republic, gathered in the living room of their neat, two-story brick rowhouse in the working-class neighborhood and talked about the victim.
"The doctors said they don't know which way he's going to go," said Bernada Lugo, a sister. "The doctors said he's not out of danger yet."
Family members said Pedro Lugo could only move his left leg and left arm.
"[Doctors] said they'd do what they can, they cannot promise," said another sister, Ramona Arias, 25.
The family said they cannot believe what happened to Pedro Lugo, whom they described as kind and caring. He was unemployed and was seeking a job at a restaurant.
Pedro Lugo was the third oldest of four boys and three girls. The close-knit siblings came to America after their father, a dishwasher, went to Miami about 11 years ago. They eventually settled in Baltimore.
"We never thought something like this could happen," Mrs. Arias said.
Through Bernada Lugo, Pedro Lugo's mother, Leocadia Lugo, said: "I don't understand who could do that to him. He didn't bother anyone. We came to this country for a better life, not to find problems."
The family thought Pedro Lugo may have been beaten "just for fun" or because he is Hispanic. "We are all the same," Ramona Arias said, "black or whatever, it doesn't matter."
Police said they have no evidence that the incident was racially motivated.
The family said they want those responsible for the beating prosecuted. Bernada Lugo said, "It doesn't matter what age they are. If they're old enough to do something like this, they should pay for it.
"He never had any trouble. You can ask anybody around here," she said. "They have nothing bad to say about him."
Ophelia Fields, a neighbor, agreed.
"The whole family seems to be nice people," Fields said. She recalled that the family took down the license plate of a hit-and-run driver who had struck her parked car. The driver was later charged.
Neighbors said the incident was an example of the trouble that some students at Hampstead Hill Junior High create after school or during the summer break.
Last summer, several young people threw bottles at a woman.
"People can't even sit on their steps," said the neighbor. "It's that bad."