Shotgun blast injures East Baltimore boy, 2 Child was sitting in front of his house

August 02, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

A 2-year-old boy being lifted to safety by his aunt was struck in the back and head by shotgun pellets last night in East Baltimore.

James Skinner, who was shot in front of the rowhouse where he lives in the 2100 block of Ashland Ave., was in satisfactory condition last night at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a spokeswoman said.

No arrests had been made last night, and police said they could find no witnesses to the shooting, which occurred near Ashland Avenue's intersection with Chester Street, a few blocks from the hospital.

Police said that shortly before 10 p.m., James and two young cousins were sitting on the front steps of their home when several young men got into an argument several doors away. Suddenly, one of the men fired at least three shotgun blasts but missed his target, police said.

When the first blast rang out, James' aunt, Yvonne Smith, 25, pulled her daughters, Marquita Smith, 8, and Shawatia Smith, 4, to safety inside the house. Then, just as she picked up James by his shoulders, shotgun pellets hit him in the lower back and ear and grazed his head.

"I just heard the shots," Ms. Smith said last night while preparing to drive to Hopkins to check on her nephew. "It happened so fast."

"He was the last child to get inside," police Sgt. Antonio Rodriguez said.

Ms. Smith said she got James inside and called police, who searched the area with a helicopter but found no suspects.

Spectators who gathered could hear the child crying inside the ambulance as family members and friends huddled around an open side door, watching the paramedics work.

"He's breathing fine," Sergeant Rodriguez told reporters.

Two doors down from where James lives, Mecca Knight, 23, watched with her 13-month-old daughter, Dominique Knight, as several homicide detectives scoured the streets for evidence.

Ms. Knight said she had just taken her daughter inside before the shotgun blasts erupted.

"I didn't even hear the argument," she said.

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