Threats delay Arundel high school games

December 06, 1991|By Kris Antonelli Reporters Dianne Williams Hayes, Roch Eric Kubatko, Pat O'Malley and Lem Satterfield contributed to this report.

Anne Arundel County school officials postponed weekend sports events at Meade and North County high schools after threats of retaliation for the shooting of a Meade student.

School and police sources said an anonymous caller to the 911 emergency line warned on Wednesday of a possible shooting at the varsity boys' basketball game scheduled for 7 tonight at North County High in Linthicum.

The apparent target of the shooting was to be Purnell Carter, 19, a 1990 graduate of Andover High School, which merged with Brooklyn Park High School to form North County. Mr. Carter was a basketball and football player.

Instead of going to the game, however, Mr. Carter was arrested yesterday afternoon at Bowie State University, where he is a student.

He was charged with handgun violations and the attempted murder of Meade student Delonte Dwayne Morsell, 17, on Sunday.

Mr. Carter is being held without bail at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center.

The Morsell youth was shot in the back at about 12:15 a.m. while on his way to a teen dance at the Pumphrey Recreation Center on Belle Grove Road, police said. He was treated at North Arundel Hospital and released.

County police spokesman V. Richard Molloy said police officials asked the school board yesterday morning to postpone weekend games at both schools. That included the girls' junior varsity and varsity basketball games at North County and the boys' junior varsity basketball game at Meade.

Anne Arundel Assistant School Superintendent C. Berry Carter said officials were worried about the safety of players and spectators. He also said the games could be rescheduled.

Purnell Carter started for both the Andover football and basketball teams in his senior year. He was one of six players who walked off the football practice field on Oct. 26, 1989, to protest the removal of quarterback Damon Quarles from the team. All seven players grew up together in the Cedar-Morris Hill section of Glen Burnie.

Damon Quarles had been suspended from school and thrown off the football team by coach Don Usewick for violations of school policy.

Mr. Carter and two others involved in the boycott returned to play without incident on the school's basketball team that year.

North County athletic director Mike Baker said he received a notice of the postponement yesterday afternoon from the office of Superintendent Larry L. Lorton. Mr. Baker said police told him earlier in the day "there might be a problem" with playing the games.

About the same time Mr. Baker got his notice, Meade athletic director Ralph Beachley was called into the office by Principal Stanley Stawas and told the same thing.

"The whole thing started as a community [incident] that didn't involve the school, but no man is an island," Mr. Beachley said. "Obviously, you don't like to have your plans upset. We have a good team, and the kids were looking forward to the opening game, but I think the superintendent's office was prudent in realizing the problem."

Students at both schools seemed yesterday to be taking the news peacefully.

"There has not been any problem at the school. It's been very quiet," North County Principal William Wentworth said.

"Students seem to react fairly calmly," Meade Assistant Principal Michael Mitch said. "I don't know how many are aware of the underlying reasons for the cancellation."

Mr. Beachley said this weekend's Meade Invitational Wrestling Tournament, which includes the squad from North County, is still on.

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