Gun used in shooting is sought

February 18, 1994|By Michael James and Melody Simmons | Michael James and Melody Simmons,Sun Staff Writers

Police have launched a search for the chrome-plated .45-caliber handgun used in the shooting of a Baltimore kindergarten teacher this month, and they believe it is still being held by a heavily armed group of Park Heights drug dealers.

Because of its high caliber, the gun is regarded as a status symbol in the "Park Heights Hustlers" drug gang and has probably been hidden away, said Officer Mark Wiedefeld of the Northwestern District.

"These guys carry a lot of guns, but they tend to be very possessive with guns like these [.45s,]" he said. "The .25s and .38s they don't seem to mind giving up, but not the .45s."

Police say the gun was used by an alleged gang member, Xavier Cornelius Wilson, 16, of Northwest Baltimore, to shoot Julie A. Lombardi in the face on Feb. 1 during an attempted carjacking. Police say the youth shot the woman near Malcolm X Elementary School as she resisted his attempts to steal her 1988 Acura Legend, which he planned to strip for parts so he could repair his own Acura.

The Wilson youth has been charged as an adult with assault with intent to murder, assault, and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. He was ordered held on no bail yesterday by Baltimore District Court Judge Nancy B. Shuger.

When he was 14 years old, Xavier Wilson was arrested on similar charges related to the shooting of Jonathan Houston on July 12, 1992, in the Burger King at Mondawmin Mall, court records show.

Those charges -- attempted murder, battery and a felony handgun charge -- were dropped by Baltimore District Court Judge Teyette Price on Aug. 12, 1992, for insufficient evidence, said Sandy Kemick, the assistant state's attorney who handled the case.

Police say Xavier Wilson was at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for juvenile delinquents for about eight months in 1993 on an unspecified juvenile offense.

Martin Lombardi, Mrs. Lombardi's husband, said the family was outraged to learn of the prior charges against the Wilson youth.

"I'm more disappointed now that whoever was involved with this did not go through with it," Mr. Lombardi said. "We're paying the price for their failure to follow through in the legal system. It is hard to believe."

He also said he felt angry about the shooting's tie-in to a drug gang. "It seems like all this violence always comes back to drugs. I'm so fed up with it I think they ought to just

legalize drugs," he said.

Investigators describe the Park Heights Hustlers as a mid-level cocaine organization of about a dozen teen-agers and young men. Members, operating with street nicknames such as "L. A.," "Kid" and "Lil," sell cocaine in the area of Towanda and Springhill avenues, police say.

A woman identifying herself as Xavier Wilson's mother said yesterday that she was upset and didn't want to comment on his arrest. "I love him . . . but right now I just don't want to say anything."

Mrs. Lombardi, a teacher at Malcolm X Elementary, had just left work when she was shot.

She was released from Sinai Hospital earlier this week after reconstructive surgery on her face.

A confidential witness alleges that the Wilson youth walked toward Mrs. Lombardi's car and started to "pull his knit cap down over his face," court documents show.

He ordered her to "open your door" and, when she resisted, he pulled out the handgun and began to pull on the driver's side door, documents say the witness alleges.

After Mrs. Lombardi sped off, police say, the gunman shot at the car, striking Mrs. Lombardi in the left cheek.

Five more shots were fired at the car, the documents show.

Police began investigating the Park Heights gang after the witness provided information. Investigators say all gang members carry weapons to thwart drug thefts.

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