Family crushed by slaying of 16-year-old girl Boyfriend still listed as critical

December 21, 1992|By Thomas W. Waldron and Laura Lippman | Thomas W. Waldron and Laura Lippman,Staff Writers

City homicide detectives reported few clues and no certain motive yesterday in a double shooting near Reisterstown Road Plaza in which a 16-year-old girl was killed and her 19-year-old boyfriend critically injured late Saturday.

Chaquista Spriggs and Maurice Osborne apparently were walking to the nearby Metro stop about 10:15 p.m. when they were accosted in the 4200 block of Patterson Ave., police said. The two were forced to walk about 200 feet along the CSX railroad tracks, away from the well-lighted street, according to police reports.

Police arrived at the scene after a 911 caller reported hearing shots in the area. They found Mr. Osborne stumbling toward the street, attempting to tell police about Ms. Spriggs. Her body was found along the railroad tracks.

Chaquista, of the 2400 block of Reisterstown Road, left work at 10 that night, after her second day in a new job at the Dollar Town store in the mall.

She was carrying a bag of toys she had bought for her 3-year-old sister, Latrice, when she was killed, police told her mother, Linda Walker.

Mrs. Walker said Chaquista was a blossoming young woman who thrived at Edmondson/Westside Senior High School, loved music and was looking forward to serving in the Air Force and having a family.

Keisha, as her family called her, recently wrote out her goals in blue ink on a piece of notebook paper. In five years, she wrote: "I plan to be in AFR [the Air Force Reserve], studying psychiatry, about to graduate, soon to be engaged. And if the Lord spares me, [have] a son."

Mrs. Walker, 31, fought back tears last night as she discussed her daughter and the slaying, clutching Keisha's most recent report card and a song she wrote for homecoming.

"She was my daughter and I loved her dearly, but God only lent her to me for a little while," Mrs. Walker said. "Her death might help someone get close with God. It's never too late."

Chaquista was the 320th person killed in Baltimore this year, according to police. That is the second-highest total in city history, 10 shy of the record 330 homicides in Baltimore's deadliest year, 1972.

Mr. Osborne, of the 900 block of N. Carrollton Ave., was in critical condition last night at Sinai Hospital. He was shot in the torso, Detective Thomas Pellegrini said.

Police said they had identified no suspect and could not even be sure how many people were involved, although initial reports indicated that three people approached the couple.

Chaquista's stepfather, Kevin Walker, said she "exercised a great deal of common sense" walking the streets at night.

"Not a night goes by that we don't hear a gunshot," he said of their neighborhood.

The walls of Chaquista's small bedroom were covered with the things of a teen-ager: a pink and silver Mylar balloon decorated with a teddy bear and the words "I Love You"; two oversized sombreros; a picture of Chaquista dressed for the prom.

Friday night, Mr. Walker said, he and his wife, who were married in June, were talking about how well things were going for the family. It was Chaquista's first night at work, Mrs. Walker's two younger daughters were playing, and Mr. Walker, a chemical operator for a paint company, had been making plans that day to officially adopt his stepchildren.

"She was at that turning point when she was taking the step to becoming an adult," Mr. Walker said, his voice trembling. "We're still waiting for her to come through the door."

As her parents talked, 3-year-old Latrice padded around the apartment in pink pajamas, unable to sleep.

"She's kind of irritable," Mrs. Walker said. "She didn't go to sleep until 7 this morning. She's been waiting up for Keisha."

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