A threat of a vengeful shooting has forced Anne Arundel County school officials to postpone weekend basketball games at Meade and North County high schools.
School and police sources said an anonymous caller to 911 Wednesday warned of a possible shooting at the varsity boys' basketball game scheduled for 7 o'clock tonight at North County High in Linthicum.
County police spokesman V. Richard Molloy said police asked the school board yesterday to postpone weekend games at both schools. The delay includes girls' junior varsity and varsity basketball games at North County and the boys' junior varsity basketball game at Meade.
Assistant School Superintendent C. Berry Carter said officials were worried about the safety of players and spectators. He said the games could be rescheduled.
The apparent target of the shooting threat was Purnell Carter, 19, who was expected to attend the game. He is a 1990 graduate of Andover High School, where he played basketball and football. Andover merged with Brooklyn Park High School to form North County.
Arrested yesterday afternoon at Bowie State University, where he is a student, Carter was charged by Arundel police with attempted murder and handgun violations in the Sunday shooting of Meade student Delonte Dwayne Morsell, 17.
Morsell was shot in the back about 12:15 a.m. while on his way to a teen dance at the Pumphrey Recreation Center on Belle Grove Road. He was treated and released from North Arundel Hospital.
Police said Carter was held overnight at the county detention center pending a bail review hearing today before a District Court judge.
Mike Baker, North County's athletic director, said he was notified of the postponement yesterday by the office of Superintendent Larry L. Lorton. Baker said police told him earlier in the day "that there might be a problem" with holding the games.
Ralph Beachley, Meade's athletic director, was told of the postponement by Principal Stanley Stawas.
"The whole thing started as a community element that didn't involve the school, but no man is an island," 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 appeared to be taking the news calmly.
"There has not been any problem at the school, it's been very quiet," North County Principal William Wentworth said yesterday.
"Students seem to react fairly calmly," said Meade Assistant Principal Michael Mitch said. "I don't know how many are aware of the underlying reasons for the cancellation."
Beachley said this weekend's Meade Invitational Wrestling Tournament, which includes the squad from North County, is still on.