Baltimore police arrested five teen-agers yesterday and charged them with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old mother who was caught in a gunbattle while holding her toddler son Tuesday night.
Police said the gunfight in West Baltimore, between young men from the city and from New York, stemmed from a dispute over an unidentified girl.
Four of the suspects are 17-year-old juveniles, charged as adults. They are David Alston of the 1600 block of N. Dallas St., Thomas Jahaun Kent of the 500 block of Laurens St., Renie Cooper Boiseau of the 800 block of Harlem Ave., and Micah Brent Mays of the 1900 block of Druid Hill Ave. The fifth suspect is Thomas Conyers, 18, of the North Dallas Street address.
All were charged with first-degree murder and a handgun violation in the commission of a felony, said police spokesman Doug Price. At least four other arrests are likely, he said.
Mr. Conyers and the Alston youth, arrested at 6 a.m. at their home by city police officers and U.S. marshals, were denied bail and were due to be transferred to the Baltimore City Detention Center. The other suspects, charged later, were scheduled to see a court commissioner and were being held at the Central District lock-up.
Investigators had interviewed witnesses who were able to identify participants in the shooting, Agent Price said.
Adrian Edmonds died late Tuesday night shortly after a bullet went through her right arm and into her chest outside the home of a friend she was visiting in the 500 block of Presstman St.
At the time of the 11:15 p.m. shooting, the young mother was sitting on the front steps holding her 15-month-son, Eric Tyler. He was wounded in the right arm, and was either dropped or laid down when his mother was shot, police said. She collapsed in the hallway of her friend's home.
Ms. Edmonds, who lived less than two blocks away in the 2200 block of Division St., died at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center shortly afterward, police said. Her son was taken to University of Maryland Medical Center, where he was released Wednesday. "The mother and her son certainly were not the intended targets," said Agent Price.
Police believe the two rival groups, both involved in the drug trade, were fighting over a girl. Agent Price said that on Monday afternoon, a New Yorker identified only as Melvin got into a dispute about the girl with the one of the five suspects charged yesterday.
"The five got the best of Melvin," the police spokesman said, adding that after Melvin was shot and injured in the dispute, he reported the shooting to his associates, who sought retaliation.
Tuesday night, "they faced-off," Agent Price said, firing a variety of weapons on Presstman and Division streets.
Police said yesterday they were seeking four New Yorkers with the street names of Melvin, Nice, B. O. and Rakeem.
Police also said that, because of the number of shots fired, they have not determined who fired the shot that killed the 15-year-old mother.