Suspects in shooting of officer all have criminal histories

September 26, 1992|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,Staff Writer Staff writers Scott Shane and Jay Apperson contributed to this article.

The three suspects in the shooting of Baltimore police Officer James E. Young Jr. at the Flag House Courts high-rise project are no strangers to Maryland's justice system.

The alleged trigger man is a graduate of the state prison system's boot camp program; the second suspect, sources say, was an escapee from the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School; and the third is on probation from a 1991 drug conviction.

Sean Lamont Little, 21, who is alleged to have shot Officer Young in the back of the head Sept. 18 with the policeman's own gun, was a 1991 graduate of the Division of Correction's high-profile alternative prison program -- the state's boot camp -- correction officials confirmed yesterday.

Little attended the Herman L. Toulson Correctional Boot Camp from March 11, 1991, to Aug. 22, 1991, and successfully completed the prison system's military-style program, said Cpl. J. Scott McCauley, spokesman for the Division of Correction.

Little first entered prison Oct. 13, 1990, for a crime Corporal McCauley refused to specify, citing laws protecting the confidentiality of past criminal records. However, law enforcement sources said he was serving an 18-month sentence for a violation of probation from an earlier drug-possession conviction.

Corporal McCauley did say that in February 1991 Little was found to be eligible for boot camp, even though he apparently acknowledged having a drug problem. Nevertheless, he "scored well above the minimum requirements for program completion, including the addiction program," the spokesman said.

Early on in the program, Little was reprimanded twice -- once in March 1991 and again in April 1991 -- for a "low evaluation" by the boot camp's drill instructors, which is not unusual, Corporal McCauley said.

Also, a second suspect held in the shooting of Officer Young had been sought by police after failing to return to the Hickey School after a May family visit, sources familiar with the case said yesterday.

After Vernon Silvers IV, 16, of the 2400 block of Callow Ave., failed to return to the juvenile institution in Baltimore County, police were called and a warrant was issued for his arrest, the sources said.

An official with Rebound Inc., the private firm that operates Hickey for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, refused to comment on the specific report, citing confidentiality laws in juvenile matters.

But Bruce Bishop, Rebound's facility director at Hickey, did say that "students go out on passes all the time, and in the event they don't return, we immediately notify the authorities and a warrant is issued."

The third suspect, Kevin Lamont Green, 23, of the 200 block of N. Colvin St., was on probation at the time of the shooting from a 1991 drug possession conviction, according to court records and Susan Kaskie, spokeswoman for the Division of Parole and Probation.

Court records show that Green has a history of drug convictions that date back to 1987.

Little is being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center without bail. The Silvers youth and Green also are being held at the Detention Center, each on $200,000 bail.

Officer Young was in serious but stable condition yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Corporal McCauley, the correction spokesman, said the latest statistics -- dated July 25, 1992 -- on boot camp graduates show that of the 594 graduates of the program, 102 (17 percent) have returned to prison.

But, he said, only 29 (5 percent) of those were returned for new offenses; the remainder were returned because of technical violations of their parole, such as testing positive in drug screening. Six of the graduates have died or been killed, he said.

Recidivism rates among Maryland's prison population are now about 50 percent within three years of release and nearly 65 percent within five years of release.

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