Woman, 18, shot to death in doorway Boyfriend's roommate says he mistook her for a prowler

November 11, 1991|By Michael James

An 18-year-old high school senior was shot to death early yesterday as she tried to unlock the door of the house next door, where her boyfriend lived, authorities said.

The victim, Shawneeka Gunter, a student at Northwestern High School and mother of a 2-year-old girl, was killed by a shotgun blast to her chest as she tried to enter the house in the 3400 block of West Belvedere Avenue with a key she had been given earlier in the day.

Police said Adrian Jordan, 21, who lived in the house with Miss Gunter's boyfriend, told them he mistook her for a prowler when he heard her attempting to open the door.

Mr. Jordan opened the door and, according to his account, had trouble seeing in the darkness and accidentally pulled the trigger of the weapon as he attempted to put it down, said Detective Harry Edgerton of the city police homicide unit.

Police charged him with first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

An unrelated shooting last night on Greenmount Avenue left one man dead and another wounded after an apparent argument with an unidentified gunman.

John Goines, 33, of the 300 block of East 20th Street, died at Johns Hopkins Hospital about two hours after the shooting at 7:20 p.m. in the 2000 block of Greenmount. Thomas Boyd, 37, of the 300 block of East 21st Street, was released after treatment of a leg wound at the University of Maryland Medical Center, police said.

The killing of Miss Gunter stunned relatives, who gathered at her home near Pimlico race track.

Miss Gunter's godfather, Kim Wilkens, said he had demanded, when she was going out about 3 a.m., "Where are you going at this time of the morning?"

Moments later came the gunshot, and Miss Gunter's family ran next door to see what had happened.

"I felt two heartbeats, and then she was gone," Mr. Wilkens said. "I kept thinking, 'Shawneeka, it's not your fault. You were trying to do better, you just hung around with the wrong type of people.'

"There are too many guns in Baltimore, and too many lunatics who think they have to carry them around. If we can get through the night without hearing a single gunshot in this neighborhood, it's amazing. Who can feel safe?"

A friend of the family, Kevin Smith, said Miss Gunter had dropped out of Northwestern High last year but had decided to return and hoped to become a hairdresser.

"She had some problems, but she was a nice girl; she would never hurt anybody."

Among about a dozen family members and friends mourning Miss Gunter's death last night was Troy Smith, the father of 6-year-old Tiffany Smith, who was killed in July in the cross-fire of two gunmen in the Walbrook Junction neighborhood.

Tiffany and Shawneeka Gunter are similar victims, Troy Smith said.

"They're both dead because we've got too many guns going off in this city," said Mr. Smith, a cousin of Miss Gunter's daughter, Shneeka Foote. "It's stupid and it's senseless. Something's got to be done about it. We're killing our future."

Mr. Smith said Miss Gunter was trying to cope with being a young mother and with growing up in a neighborhood where drugs are sometimes sold openly on the street.

The child is being cared for now by Miss Gunter's mother.

"We have problems with drugs here, but that doesn't mean everyone in this neighborhood does them," he said.

"We're here because we live in poverty. Shawneeka had to grow up in a drug zone because her family couldn't afford to live anyplace else. She didn't deserve to die."

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