Bail denied youth accused of shooting 4-year-old, man

August 27, 1994|By Peter Hermann and Howard Libit | Peter Hermann and Howard Libit,Sun Staff Writers

A 16-year-old charged with shooting two people, including a 4-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet, was ordered held without bail yesterday by a District Court judge.

Denying a request by a lawyer representing Varian Romeo Simms to set bail at $20,000, Judge Kathleen M. Sweeney noted that the girl was severely injured and may not survive.

"Although it may be attempted murder at this point, because of the nature of the victims, particularly the 4-year-old, the status of these charges may change," the judge said in making her ruling.

Craig Garfield, who is representing the Simms youth, said he planned to file a petition Monday to move the case from adult court to juvenile court. He said his client, one of nine siblings, has a clean record -- his only brush with authorities stems from a truancy violation in which he was suspended from school for three days.

The 4-year-old victim, Jacquette Bianca Dennis of Druid Park Lake Drive, was in critical but stable condition yesterday at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. A hospital spokeswoman said bTC the bullet remained lodged in the girl's head and she remains in a coma.

The girl was shot while she played outside a social club in the 2700 block of Pennsylvania Ave. as her father stood nearby, police said.

The Simms youth, of the 2200 block of Roslyn Ave., surrendered to police Thursday. He was charged as an adult with two counts of attempted murder and handgun violations.

The charges stem from the shootings of Jacquette and a 21-year-old man Tuesday night.

Police and court documents say the Simms youth, whom a police spokeswoman originally said was 15, was a passenger in a dark blue Toyota Camry that pulled up to a curb minutes before 11 p.m.

The youth got out of the car and argued with Ronald Alexander, 21, of the 300 block of S. Dallas Court before two shots were fired from a .45-caliber handgun, police and court documents say.

A bullet hit Jacquette in the left side of the head. Mr. Alexander was hit in the back of the thigh and was in satisfactory condition yesterday at Sinai Hospital.

While arguing that the Simms youth should be granted bail, Mr. Garfield said the police account of the shooting is uncorroborated, and he stressed that the girl was not an intended victim.

"Even if it is true, it was an incident between my client and Mr. Alexander," the lawyer said. "It was a fight between one individual and another."

But Assistant State's Attorney Mary Jane Schroeder said Mr. Simms was "the aggressor in the whole situation."

Yesterday, Debbie Bangledorf, a spokeswoman for the Children's Center, said Jacquette suffered from brain swelling that prevented doctors from determining the extent of her injury.

She said that doctors have no immediate plans to operate and are closely watching the child.

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