Police Tell Lochearn Residents That Crime Will Be Controlled

Patrols Have Been Added Since April 7 Shooting

April 25, 1997|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

About 100 residents of the Lochearn area -- worried about possible juvenile gang activity since a recent neighborhood shooting -- last night met with police and county officials, who assured them that additional patrols and detectives are working to quell the violence.

Capt. Steven Vaughn, commander of the Garrison Precinct, said the Community Action Team squads have been assigned to the neighborhood, and detectives from the Intelligence Unit are working to identify teen-agers who are causing problems in Lochearn.

"We are going to their parents and notifying them of what their kids are doing, as well as who they are associating with," Vaughn said. "Some of them come from good homes, and their parents had absolutely no idea what has been happening. Others are just bad apples, and we are letting them know we are not going to tolerate their behavior and we will arrest them every chance we get."

County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, who also attended the meeting at Lochearn Presbyterian Church, told residents that police will do everything possible to make community residents feel safe.

"I encourage all of you to get involved," he said. "This is a wake-up call, and we are going to do what we have to do to make sure we get control of this."

Some residents of the neighborhood surrounding the Milford Mill Academy, where a series of fights among rival groups of teen-agers have prompted police to begin after-school patrols, say that gangs of youths are terrorizing other youths.

"The kids are afraid that there is going to be retaliation against them, so they did not come to this meeting," said Adele Ray, the mother of three boys. "My kids were two doors down from the shooting and they were witnesses to it."

Before the meeting, Vaughn acknowledged that although some of the groups have names, they are not formally organized and do not commit crimes for financial gain as gangs do elsewhere.

The problems started April 7 when gunfire erupted about 6: 20 p.m. in the 6600 block of Laurel Drive, about a block from last night's meeting.

In that incident, four county teen-agers were charged with attempted murder and other offenses after a group of youths jumped out of a car and one of them, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, shot at another group, police said. No one was injured.

Pub Date: 4/25/97

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