Annapolis man gets prison for gunshot

April 19, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 22-year-old Annapolis man was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday for shooting at a man who had complained to police that the cars of patrons at a nearby dance were blocking his truck.

The intended victim helped police track the gunman down after spotting the getaway car a few days later.

Eugene A. Washington of the 200 block of Parker Ave., convicted by a jury of attempted murder in the Feb. 6, 1993, shooting, was sentenced by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner.

"This business of fooling with guns has really got to stop," Judge Lerner said in pronouncing sentence. "The courts can't tolerate this kind of activity, and I certainly will not."

The intended victim, Darryl Z. Neal, a 36-year-old building contractor, said in an interview after yesterday's sentencing that on the night of the incident, he had called police about midnight because several cars parked near the Stanton Community Center on West Washington Street were blocking his truck.

Mr. Neal said he went outside and was waiting for the officers to arrive when Washington came up to him and told him to move his truck. Mr. Neal refused, saying that the police had been called and he was waiting for them.

With that, Washington began making threats and "tried to circle around behind me," Mr. Neal said.

Mr. Neal said he kept his eye on Washington as the man turned and started walking away. But when Washington was about 8 feet away, Mr. Neal said, he heard what sounded like "the clicking" of an semiautomatic pistol being loaded. He said he ducked as Washington fired one shot at him.

Mr. Neal said he heard two people yelling "Run, Gene, run," as the gunman sped off in a burgundy Ford Taurus.

A few days later, Mr. Neal spotted the car parked at a High's dairy store on General's Highway near the Annapolis Mall and he asked its driver if he knew someone named Gene.

When the driver said he did, Mr. Neal jotted down the car's license number and reported it to Annapolis police Detective Pete Medley, who tracked Washington down.

Washington was charged after Mr. Neal identified him in a photo lineup, according to Assistant State's Attorney William Mulford.

Mr. Mulford said that although no one was hurt, the incident had a dramatic effect on Mr. Neal, his wife and their two teen-age children, who fear retaliation.

"It's horrible what they've gone through," he said.

Mr. Neal and his wife, Margaret, said their fears prompted them to move to a new house and to place their children's beds away from any windows and walls out of concern someone might shoot at the house.

Mrs. Neal said she and her children have had trouble sleeping and worry about being assaulted any time any of them leaves their house.

"My kids are scared to walk to school now," she said.

Washington is to be tried next month on attempted murder and handgun charges for allegedly shooting Gary M. Bruce in the mouth during an argument near his home in the 1700 block of Circle Road in Severn on March 5, 1993.

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