Shootings strike at 2 city schools No injuries in gun battle on playground at Steuart Hill.

October 16, 1991|By Alisa Samuels and Mark Bomster | Alisa Samuels and Mark Bomster,Evening Sun Staff William B. Talbott contributed to this story.

Concerned officials at Steuart Hill Elementary School kept students a half-hour beyond dismissal time yesterday after four or five young men waged a gun battle in front of the school, say police and city school officials.

The incident came just two hours after a 16-year-old student at Harbor City Learning Center was slightly injured by a pellet gun fired by a man in the parking lot.

No one was injured in the Steuart Hill Elementary incident, in which at least four and maybe five men armed with handguns ran through the school yard in the first block of S. Gilmor St., firing at each other about 2:35 p.m. yesterday, po

lice said.

"We have no report of injuries or property damage," said Agent Arlene Jenkins, a city police spokeswoman.

No shell casings were found, but witnesses reported seeing the men running and hearing gunshots, Jenkins said.

Students were leaving the school when teachers on a playground with a group of students heard gunshots, said Karen V. Poe, a school system spokeswoman. No children were on the street where the shooting took place, said Poe.

All the children immediately were brought back into the school and were held there while police searched the area with patrol cars and a helicopter, Poe said.

Police said one man tried to get in one of the school doors, but it was locked.

The children were dismissed by about 3 p.m., said Poe. Normally, dismissal is at 2:30 p.m.

"My first reaction was disbelief," said principal Goldye J. Sanders. "But it happened. We still have to go on."

The student at Harbor City Learning Center, in the 1000 block of W. Saratoga St., was shot in the hand by a pellet gun -- similar to a BB gun -- and slightly injured yesterday afternoon, police said.

Police said Tiamecka Matthews was opening the door out of the school cafeteria about 12:30 p.m. to get some air when she was shot from outside the school. The shot apparently came from one of two men, neither of them students, who were in the parking lot with a long, pump pellet gun.

Matthews was struck in the right hand between the thumb and first finger, police said. The shot did not break the skin. She was taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center for treatment and released.

Police said Randy Bunnell, assistant principal, heard shouting and ran into the parking lot, where two men pointed the weapon at him but fled without firing.

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