4 killed in single night

July 25, 1994|By Jim Haner and JoAnna Daemmrich | Jim Haner and JoAnna Daemmrich,Sun Staff Writers

In one of the deadliest nights in Baltimore this summer, four people were killed in homicides -- including three who died within hours of each other yesterday in the city's troubled Eastern District, police said.

In another incident, a man was shot and wounded by a police officer.

The incidents were apparently unrelated, police said.

The deaths marred a period of relative peace on the streets this summer after Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier ordered massive raids in two of the Eastern District's worst neighborhoods that netted dozens of repeat offenders.

"Not too long ago, three homicides on a summer night in this district would not have been all that unusual," said Sgt. Donald Krebs, a district shift supervisor. "But nothing like this has happened all summer -- not since the raids."

In an unwelcome reprise of hot summer nights past, so many of the district's patrol officers were securing crime scenes in the early morning hours yesterday that few were available to answer routine 911 calls, police said.

By last night, homicide detectives who had worked throughout the early morning hours were still in the field and had yet to return to headquarters on Fayette Street to complete their reports, said Detective Sgt. Roger Nolan.

"Most of our guys are still pinned down," he said. "The best information we have at this point is sketchy. It'll probably be Monday before we have the details. We had a really bad night up here."

As word of the killings spread yesterday, City Council members said the violence underscores the fact that the police raids -- in the Middle East neighborhood around Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Midway section of the city near Green Mount Cemetery -- cannot stop the violence completely.

"The rot is still here," said 2nd District Councilman Anthony J. Ambridge. "The raids certainly increased the comfort on the street and curtailed the turf rivalries and drug killings. People are definitely feeling better about the police.

"But we're dealing with deep-rooted problems here that the police can't fix. The lack of jobs. The desperation that some people feel. The housing shortage."

The calls for help in the Eastern District started coming in around 3 a.m. and didn't let up for nearly an hour, said Officer Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman.

Officers checking out a report of gunfire in the 2400 block of E. Lafayette Ave. came upon a group of men milling around the intersection of Port Street and Lafayette near the Baltimore Cemetery. One of the officers -- a 40-year-old patrolman with two years' experience -- drew his weapon and fired for reasons that were not known yesterday.

One of the men was wounded in the right wrist. He was treated at Church Hospital and released, Officer Weinhold said.

The wounded man's identity was not available.

As police radios crackled with news of the shooting near the cemetery, officers flooding into the area came upon the body of an unidentified man in the 2400 block of E. Lanvale St.

An hour later, police dispatched to a suspected domestic dispute found Donnell Reginald Haley, 25, on the second floor of a house in the 800 block of Abbott Court, bleeding from multiple gunshots to the chest and stomach, Officer Weinhold said.

Police said that Mr. Haley, who lived in the 4900 block of Crenshaw Ave., was visiting his girlfriend when her ex-boyfriend climbed through a window and opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol.

Mr. Haley died of his wounds at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Police withheld the name of the suspect, who was being sought last night, Officer Weinhold said.

Four hours later, about 8:30 a.m., police found the body of another unidentified man in the 300 block of E. Lanvale St. -- another apparent homicide victim, police said.

Late Saturday, police in the Western District responding to a report of gunshots in the 1600 block of Bakbury Court found the body of Antoinette Louise Wilson, 24, lying in the street -- the victim of a possible robbery attempt.

Police said a teen-age gunman approached Ms. Wilson, who lived in the 2100 block of Callow Ave., punched her in the face, pulled a semiautomatic pistol and shot her repeatedly when she fought back. She was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before midnight.

Col. Ronald L. Daniel, commander of the Criminal Investigation Division, said last night that the rush of killings does not appear to bear any "sudden mad pattern" that typified the tit-for-tat drug murders of the past in the Eastern District.

"If people are looking for consolation, that's all I can give them," he said. "These crimes at least appear to be unrelated and more of an unpredictable nature. I don't think they are representative of the kinds of chronic problems we were seeing before the raids.

"The bigger question behind these kind of situations is what is going to be our strategy for dealing with the problems at the root of it all. The solution has to involve more than just police and courts and jails."

Contacted at home, City Council Vice President Vera P. Hall somberly received the news of yet another night of murder in Baltimore.

"It's all interconnected," she said. "I think we are going to see these outbursts in violence until we have more people productively employed."

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