Even within the unpredictable context of inner-city street crime, a 37-year-old Pimlico man went to work yesterday morning and had a very, very bad day.
Along with an accomplice, the man allegedly began his shift by throwing a brick through the glass door of Chez Fernand's Restaurant on Fayette Street, police reported later.
So far, so good -- although a daylight burglary at a restaurant two blocks from police headquarters might strike most as an odd act.
But things began to go bad when a Southeastern District patrol unit saw the suspect, a resident of the 4700 block of Greenspring Ave., and a partner leaving the restaurant, each carrying two dining room chairs on their shoulders.
A foot chase began, with the first suspect dropping the chairs and racing toward the Flag House project high-rise at 26 S. Exeter St. He had the officers out-paced, too, police said, so much so that they were only in the lobby by the time the suspect reached the fourth-floor landing of the east stairwell.
There, bad turned worse.
Officers heard gunshots from the stairwell and were surprised to see the man staggering back down the stairs toward them, bleeding profusely from the back.
"Damn," he told them. "I've been shot."
Police surmise that the suspect's race up the stairwell surprised drug traffickers working on the landing. The dealers, fearing a robbery perhaps, began shooting.
The victim, identified as Wayne Nicholson, was shot three or four HTC times in the back. Mr. Nicholson was in stable condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
On the fourth-floor landing, police found no sign of the gunmen.
None of the police chasing Mr. Nicholson fired, detectives said. Mr. Nicholson's alleged accomplice fled in another direction and has not been located. The chairs were recovered and charges are pending, police said.