Neighbors hammer robber to ground

April 07, 1994|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Sun Staff Writer

An angry, hammer-wielding group of neighbors last night attacked and injured a Baltimore man who police said robbed a couple in West Baltimore.

Police said robbery and assault charges were pending against Brian Wendell Vandiver, 28, of the 3800 block of Grantley Road.

No assault charges were pending against the neighbors who attacked Mr. Vandiver, said police spokesman Doug Price.

Mr. Vandiver was arrested after Effrim Guice of Hampton, Va., and Nicole Barber of Baltimore were robbed of cash, car keys and Mr. Guice's driver's license in the 1900 block of Edmondson Ave.

During a struggle, Mr. Guice was grazed in the head by a bullet fired by Mr. Vandiver, police said.

As he cried for help, a group of neighbors from the violent, drug-infested community ran from their houses and attacked Mr. Vandiver. Police said that, among other blows, he was hit several times in the head with a hammer.

After the melee, Mr. Vandiver was taken to nearby Bon Secours Hospital in critical condition. Mr. Guice was taken to University Hospital, where he was listed today in good condition.

Today, residents of the neighborhood criticized the drug dealing that makes many of them afraid to leave their houses. Some said last night's incident may become more common as warm weather approaches.

"I think he [Mr. Vandiver] got what he deserved," said a neighborhood resident, Jerome Raymond, 35. "He had no business taking that car. People are really getting tired of it, and they might start taking things into their own hands more often, but I hope not. Somebody might get hurt."

"I don't even go in the street," said Alberta Harris, a senior citizen who has lived in the 700 block of Payson Street since 1961. "I am tired of drugs, fighting and shooting and carrying on; anybody would get tired of that."

Mr. Price said police in the Western District are concerned about the incident and an investigation is continuing.

He said he understands the neighbors' frustration, yet called the response of bashing Mr. Vandiver with the hammer "an anomaly."

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