Suspect in 3 shootings near Hopkins in custody

September 18, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

A 16-year-old boy, charged as an adult with fatally shooting two older teen-age bicyclists and wounding a young man last week in the city's Middle East area, is in police custody.

City police said Eric Charles Smith of the 2700 block of Pelham Ave. appeared at the Southeastern District Station at 11:45 p.m. Friday after learning that police had issued a warrant for his arrest, officers said.

The teen, a ninth-grader at Robert Poole Middle School, was accompanied by his mother, Ronne Alford.

He was being held at the lockup last night, charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and a handgun violation.

He is accused of killing Gregory McGraw, 19, and Kevin Green, 18, as they rode their bicycles in the 2700 block of E. Monument St. Thursday night.

Mr. McGraw of the 600 block of N. Kenwood Ave. died at the scene of gunshot wounds. Mr. Green, who lived in the block where he was shot, died later at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Smith youth also is charged in the attempted murder of Larry Ray Jr., 22, of the 2700 block of E. Monument St., who was shot once in the buttocks.

Police said the gunman in the three shootings approached and fired without saying a word. The motive for the shootings was unclear last night, and a weapon was not recovered at the crime scene.

Ms. Alford defended her son in an interview last night, saying that he had fallen in with the wrong crowd.

"He was wild," Ms. Alford said. "He had his bad side, but he couldn't do something like this."

She also said her son was at a friend's house at Walbrook Junction on the west side of the city when the crimes were committed, and could not have been responsible.

"My son wasn't even on this side of town," said Ms. Alford, who said she was visiting a relative's house in the 700 block of N. Streeper St. at the time of the killings. During the visit, Ms. Alford heard the gunshots from East Monument Street and raced over. She didn't see her son until 12:30 a.m. Friday, when he returned home, she said.

She said she turned her son in because she feared for his safety. His name had been broadcast after police took out warrants for his arrest in connection with the shootings.

"I wanted my son safe," Ms. Alford said. "He went willingly because he knows he didn't do it."

Ms. Alford described her son as a light-hearted youngster who liked playing video games and the bongo drums until he was led astray by wayward friends.

The three shootings occurred about 10:30 p.m. in the neighborhood -- known as Hopkins Middle East -- that city police had swept in July during a raid intended to rid the streets of drug activity.

The accused teen-ager is scheduled to appear before a court commissioner this weekend.

Ms. Smith said she had one appeal. "I wish whoever did it would just come out," she said.

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