The day after Reginald "Reggie" Starks was brutally beaten by a gang of youths, the blood that had oozed out of his head and stained Old York Road had dried. Some pedestrians pointed to the gruesome reminder.
"That's where the boy was beat?" a woman asked yesterday, her index finger pointing to the bloodstain. "Yes," someone replied.
Some residents said the beating of Starks, a special education student at Venable High School, by possibly 15 youngsters, was just the most recent ugly example of increasing violence associated with the students at Venable, and in the working-class neighborhood in general. Residents said police need to increase patrols in the neighborhood.
Starks was listed in serious but stable condition today at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore, a spokeswoman said. It took at least five stitches to close his head wound, and he has bruises on the right side of his face, his grandmother said.
Starks' new Los Angeles Raiders jacket and a pair of earphones were stolen during the attack, police and family said, and his radio was smashed.
The attack apparently stemmed from an argument between Starks and a classmate Monday, his family said.
An 18-year-old man and two teen-agers have been charged in connection with the beating, police said. Police believe up to 15 youths attacked Starks.
The attackers are "just a violent bunch of people. No good, that's all," said Starks' grandmother, Anna McGee, 63.
McGee, of the 900 block of N. Chester St., said she was happy about the three arrests. She was disturbed, however, that no one apparently tried to stop the attackers.
Police said about 50 people watched the attack.
"I saw them slamming his head to the ground repeatedly," said Dawn Hamilton, 20, a resident. "I honestly think they intended to murder this guy." She said she called 911.
" . . . I thought the boy was dead," said Helen Ayers, 29, standing at the scene of the attack. She was putting a pot roast in the oven Tuesday when she heard screams coming from outside her home in the 3300 block of Old York Road.
Hamilton and Ayers both said a woman tried to help Starks stand up after the attack, but he fell back down.
Starks' grandmother said he recalled only that he was walking along the street when "somebody struck him on the back of his head with something." He was unconscious after the attack.
The residents said some of the students at Venable, a special education school on East 34th Street, are rowdy and have been known to start fights with each other and to harass neighbors. To prevent further attacks, city police or school police should patrol the area until students have left the area, neighbors said.
"That could have been me, you or anybody that they jumped on," said Brenda Bond, 33, a resident.
Residents did not blame students for all of the violence. The neighborhood suffers from crime, including break-ins, robberies, muggings and purse snatches, residents said.
An 83-year-old woman had her purse snatched outside Ayers' home one morning last week, Ayers said.
Residents said that since the attack on Starks, police appear to have increased patrols. But they fear the patrols will stop in a couple of days.