Bail set in school shooting Judge orders youth held on $150,000

February 27, 1992|By Alisa Samuels and Michael James | Alisa Samuels and Michael James,Staff Writers

A District judge yesterday set bail at $150,000 for the 14-year-old boy accused of wounding a Roland Park Elementary/Middle School police officer during a shooting incident at the school Monday.

Meanwhile, about 40 school police officers met last night to discuss changes in the force, which they say is understaffed and unequipped to take on the dangers in Baltimore schools.

The suspect, Peter E. Adams, has been charged as an adult with first-degree attempted murder, use of a handgun in commission of a crime and possession of controlled dangerous substance on school property. Police recovered a .22-caliber Beretta and a plastic bag containing suspected cocaine at the shooting scene, according to charging documents.

The officer was shot after discovering that the Adams youth had a beeper. A state law aimed at thwarting drug dealers prohibits students from carrying beepers in schools.

District Judge Mary Ellen T. Rinehardt followed the recommendation of a pretrial officer who requested $150,000 bail because of the seriousness of the crime and the risk that the Adams youth would not appear for trial.

After setting bail, Judge Rinehardt voiced concern that the accused teen-ager be placed in the juvenile section of the Baltimore City Detention Center away from the adult population.

"A 14-year-old should certainly not be kept there," Judge Rinehardt said. A preliminary hearing is set for March 26.

The Adams youth, dressed in a black and white striped shirt, black pants, a black cap and tennis shoes, sat handcuffed to seven other defendants during the hearing. When the pretrial officer asked the Adams youth if he was on probation on rape and harassment charges, he said, "Yes." After the hearing, the boy's father, the Rev. Hubert Adams, 43, of the 600 block of McCabe Avenue, said he could not afford to post bail. But he said he was pleased his son wouldn't be housed with adults. "I agree with that. . . . He's still a minor."

Mr. Adams said he is an assistant pastor at Christ Tabernacle in the 1400 block of McCulloh Street. He also said Peter already was serving two years' probation for rape and 18 months' probation for harassment charges. He said his son attended Western Middle School when he was placed on probation for an incident involving a 14-year-old girl.

L Mr. Adams said the shooting has left his family "devastated."

"He's really not a troublemaker," the minister said. "He hangs with the wrong people."

According to charging documents, the shooting occurred after an altercation between the Adams youth and another student. Officer James Kelly detained the Adams youth in the school's security office and they struggled after he discovered that the youth had a beeper. The pistol discharged during the struggle.

Mr. Kelly is listed in fair and stable condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The union representing the officers will inform school Superintendent Walter G. Amprey that at least one officer should be assigned to each of the city's approximately 180 schools, said Cheryl D. Glenn, the president of the City Union of Baltimore.

"This week's shooting of the officer is the straw that broke the camel's back," said Ms. Glenn, who attended the closed meeting. "In this day and age, we all realize that kids do bring guns into school, and these officers are in a fearful situation."

Many of the officers requested that the city provide them with nightsticks and bulletproof vests, neither of which are standard equipment now, Ms. Glenn said.

Also, the officers asked about getting new and better radio equipment because their current system of communications was unsatisfactory during the shooting incident Monday, Ms. Glenn said.

Officer Kelly was the only officer stationed at the Roland Park school Monday. Officer Kelly's radio did not transmit on all frequencies during his scuffle with the youths and could have caused a delay in getting help to the building, Ms. Glenn said.

"I think the question that is primarily on the officers' minds is, 'How can you effectively patrol some of these schools with just one officer?' " Ms. Glenn said. "Some schools should have two officers, and some should have four or five."

School police reported 19 gun incidents in the first four months of the current school year, up 300 percent from the same period last year.

But gun crimes in Baltimore schools reached their peak in 1984, when 122 firearms offenses were reported.

In the 1990-1991 year, school officials reported a total of 22 incidents involving firearms -- and no shootings -- down from 28 in the 1989-1990 school year.

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