4 boys 'get involved,' set stage for arrest Police are alerted to armed abduction

October 01, 1993|By Gary Gately and Michael James | Gary Gately and Michael James,Staff Writers

The four boys on their way to Roland Park Elementary/Middle School yesterday morning could hardly believe the horror that unfolded before them. As they walked along North Calvert Street to catch a transit bus to school just before 8 a.m., they spotted a man walking behind a woman, a gun pressed against her back.

At first, the children thought maybe it was some kind of joke, but they got worried when the man forced the woman into a house. So the children -- ages 11 to 13 -- ran down the street, where they told a man what they had seen, and he called the police.

Within minutes, officers arrived, and the children hid behind a van across the street and watched as the 32-year-old woman, who had been raped, ran from her home in the 3100 block of N. Calvert St.

But for the youngsters' quick action, police said, the suspect probably would have escaped.

"They did what we are asking all citizens to do -- get involved in the war on crime," said police spokesman Sam Ringgold. "They saw something that was going on, and they took action. They weren't afraid to get involved."

Police said the woman was going out to her car when a man grabbed her and ordered her to walk with him. He was carrying a handgun, police said. Once inside, he raped the woman. Minutes later, police arrived at the woman's house and heard her screaming inside.

Officers banged on the front door of the Charles Village home, and the woman apparently broke free from her abductor and ran to them, police said.

The man attempted to run out a back door -- carrying a videocassette recorder that he had stolen from the house -- but two officers waiting in the yard captured him.

Parrish R. Edmonds, 27, of the 600 block of E. 27th St., was charged with first-degree rape, attempted robbery, burglary, a handgun violation, abduction, battery and theft over $300, police said.

He was being held last night at the Northeastern District and was awaiting a bail hearing before a District Court commissioner.

The victim was taken to Mercy Medical Center, where she was listed in satisfactory condition.

Yesterday afternoon, the four boys sat in the principal's office and recalled a drama unlike anything they had seen except on television.

The Sun is withholding the names of the students at the request of the school and the police.

The students, interviewed by the newspaper and television stations, recalled their ride to school in a police car after the incident, and one of them recalled crying on the street as he watched the abduction.

They held certificates that said, "I was caught being good" and wore little gold stickers from the principal that said, "I'm a Winner."

At first, they said, they were unsure what was happening or how they should respond.

Then one of them, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, told the others, "We should go back and help that lady. We just can't leave her like that.

"I was thinking this woman might die. We were afraid we might die. We thought he might come after us."

Another of the students, a 12-year-old in the seventh grade, said, "It happened in bright daylight, right on the busy street. It makes you think people will do anything to anyone at any time or anywhere."

Mariale A. Hardiman, the school's principal, praised the students.

"It's a story about children really exemplifying what they should do, and that's be good citizens," she said. "They had to make a quick decision, think quickly. And they may have saved this woman's life by doing so."

After the cameras left, along with the police and the 1,300 students who had heard the heroes' names on the school intercom, the boys turned pensive.

"I wonder how that lady feels now," one of them said.

"I just hope she's OK," said another.

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