Man is mugged at ballpark as many fans go by

June 30, 1994|By MICHAEL OLESKER

Keith Murphy sat outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards last Wednesday night, glancing through a newspaper and sipping a soda and waiting for a bus to take him home. Suddenly, there were three guys standing over him, who wanted his wristwatch. Murphy just wanted to be left alone.

Ironically, as hundreds of people filing out of the ballpark passed him by in the next several minutes, that's exactly what happened: He was left alone by all who should have helped someone in trouble.

"Give me your watch," one of the guys standing over him said.

He looked up to see three young men in T-shirts and shorts, looking menacing, hovering directly above him. Murphy, 19 and slender, had just spent several hours working as an attendant inside the ballpark. It's one of three jobs he has this summer, as he works his way through college.

"You can't have my watch," he said.

"What are you gonna do, man, you don't have a choice," one of the three said.

Murphy looked around at hundreds of people were were leaving the game and walking directly past him, as he sat by the park's Camden Street steps.

"Help," he cried out. "Help, I'm being mugged."

Nothing happened. Nobody stopped, nobody questioned the three men standing over him, who looked around now, and saw && no one stopping them and proceeded to laugh out loud.

"Nobody's gonna help you," one of them said.

Murphy looked around again, assuming someone would spring into action and help him. He saw some people look toward him, then quickly look away. Some looked nervous. Others showed nothing. A man holding his little girl's hand walked past, glanced over, and Murphy made eye contact for a moment.

"Will you please get somebody," he cried. The man was about five feet from him. He kept walking.

"Help," Murphy cried again, and tried to get up. One of his attackers pushed him back, and then punched him above his left eye. The man on his left circled around him, then punched Murphy behind his left ear.

"Help, help," Murphy screamed, trying to mold himself into the fetal position. The man behind him hit him again and again, eight or nine times in all. No one approached to pull him away. Murphy curled his body some more.

Then he looked up, and the three men were racing off, headed east toward the light rail area -- without his watch. Murphy reached up to touch his head, and there was blood running down his arms and hands. He stood up, saw people looking at him, and cried, "Thanks a lot, thanks for everything. You guys really helped."

People turned their heads away. Now he looked across Camden Street, where buses were lined up. He felt blood coming out of his head as he approached one bus, where a driver was talking with a Mass Transit Administration police officer.

"Get me an ambulance," Murphy said. "I've been [mugged.]" The bus driver sat him down, and someone put ice to the back of his head. Someone else held a towel over his cuts. The MTA officer called an ambulance. Mercy Medical Center reported yesterday that Murphy was brought in shortly before 11 p.m. He was treated for cuts and bruises on the back of his head, scratches on his ear and a cut over his eye.

Roy Sommerhoff, Orioles' stadium operations director, said, "This is the first incident of this kind, directly after a game, that we've had at the stadium." He said there are 44 police officers inside the ballpark for each game. City police say there are an additional 30 officers outside the park -- 24 for traffic and six for crime control.

We shall leave it to the authorities to determine if those numbers are workable. Most disturbing is the reaction of citizens to the sight of a young man being assaulted -- and the knowledge of the three attackers that no one would stop them.

"Everybody talks about crime in the city," Murphy said. He grew up in the Dulaney Valley area but moved a year ago to Charles Village.

"I want to live in the city," he said. "I feel like we have an obligation to the city, that other people ran off and left the city to die. I like living here. But people have to look out for each other, don't they?"

Meantime, he says he's gotten himself another wristwatch. It's a new model. You push a button on it, and it sprays Mace.

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