2 arrested in raid at city project Suspects questioned after sniper attack

August 22, 1992|By Richard Irwin and Michael James | Richard Irwin and Michael James,Staff Writers

Two people arrested in yesterday's federal assault-team raid on a Baltimore high-rise housing project are being questioned about a sniper incident at the building, where 10 police officers were pinned down and had to be rescued by an armored car.

More than two dozen FBI agents and a special weapons team from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), assisted by city and Housing Authority police, turned up a .357-caliber Magnum and one .38-caliber and one .22-caliber handgun. Also seized from the Flag House Courts development were nearly 500 caplets of heroin, police said.

Two suspects were arrested in the raid, which authorities said was prompted by information that weapons were being stored in the fourth-floor apartment.

Renard Raymond Swittenberg, 23, who lives on the ninth floor, and his cousin, Jeaneen Weddington, 18, were charged with narcotics and handgun violations and were being questioned about Thursday's sniper incident in which a half-dozen shots were fired from the high-rises along the 100 block of S. Exeter St.

Eight city and two Housing Authority police were pinned down for five hours before an armored vehicle from the Prince George's County Police Department rescued the officers.

Police said the snipers probably were armed with handguns and not rifles; no one was injured.

Neither suspect had been charged in the shootings as of last night.

Mr. Swittenberg was questioned at the Southeastern District about the sniping attack.

He was described by city police as a "prime suspect" in the incident that apparently was precipitated by a drug arrest outside Flag House Courts.

Two other unidentified men are being sought, authorities said.

After a team of black-clad ATF agents broke down the apartment door with a battering ram, police found in a safe concealed under a bed more than 400 glassine bags and vials of heroin packaged for street sales, authorities said.

Two of Ms. Weddington's children, both believed under 5, were in a bedroom where two of the weapons were found.

They were placed in the custody of the woman's grandmother, who lives in the building.

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