4-year-old fights for life after being shot Boy was hit by stray bullet while riding his bicycle

April 23, 1996|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

As 4-year-old Abriam Moore remained unconscious in a downtown hospital yesterday, his family stood near the spot in West Baltimore where he was struck in the head by a stray bullet while riding his bicycle.

"The kids can't even ride their bikes. You got to watch every car that goes by because you never know when bullets will come flying out of them," said Theresa Muse, Abriam's aunt. "These bullets don't have anybody's name on them. They could hit anybody."

Abriam was riding his tiny blue bicycle about 50 feet from his home in the 800 block of W. Lexington St. when three men in a late-model burgundy car, possibly a Subaru, drove into the neighborhood about 7: 50 p.m. Sunday, police said.

The men, still sitting in the car, got into an argument with a man -- known only by his nickname "Weasel" -- standing on the street. One of the men in the car fired several gunshots at him, with one of the bullets apparently striking a light pole and shattering, Ms. Muse said.

"It ricocheted off the pole and two of the fragments hit Abriam," Ms. Muse said. Police said one of the fragments hit the boy just above the right eye and the other struck him in the chest.

Abriam underwent surgery Sunday night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He later was transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he was in critical but stable condition yesterday, according to hospital officials.

Relatives said the boy hadn't regained consciousness since the shooting and at times has needed a respirator to help him breathe. Abriam's mother waited at the hospital yesterday for news of his prognosis.

Abriam often rides his bicycle around his home, located in an area where shootings occasionally send residents diving for cover. Police figures weren't available yesterday for the number of shootings in the area.

A bike called 'Free Spirit'

Abriam's cousin, Quonta Muse, was riding around the neighborhood yesterday on the same bicycle Abriam was riding a day earlier when he was shot. The colorful bike has the words "Free Spirit" written on the frame and is one of the boy's favorite toys, his family said.

Quonta, 6, points to the area above his right eye to show where his cousin was shot. "It was a drive-by," he said assuredly.

Asked if he was afraid to ride the bicycle in the neighborhood, Quonta said, "No. I don't think that's gonna happen again. I'm not scared."

Police said they haven't been able to find the men in the car or the man known as Weasel. Late yesterday afternoon, investigators said they were checking a car found in the 700 block of W. Mulberry St. that may have been the one used in the shooting.

Ms. Muse said she didn't know a man named Weasel or why the men were arguing. Police said they also don't know of any motive.

"I wish they'd get the people who did it. When they shoot the children, it's getting really bad," Ms. Muse said. "When little children can't even come out and play, you've got to say enough is enough."

Pub Date: 4/23/96

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