Man killed in shooting near high school Incident occurred half a mile from Lake Clifton-Eastern

September 04, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

An argument that broke out shortly after students were dismissed from nearby Lake Clifton-Eastern High School erupted in gunfire yesterday afternoon, leaving a young man dead on the top of a grassy embankment.

School officials said last night that the victim was not a city school student.

Students who passed by police examining the body just off St. Lo Drive were shaken by the latest outbreak of violence.

"Anyone who walked down here could have gotten shot," said Tyrone Bonds, 14, a 10th-grader who said he usually leaves the school from a back door to avoid the afternoon crowds that gather on St. Lo Drive near Harford Road.

"It's not safe," Bonds said. "Everybody is getting guns and everybody is going to be afraid to go to school."

The shooting occurred 40 minutes after Gov. Parris N. Glendening, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and interim city school superintendent Robert E. Schiller visited the school as part of a tour on the first day of classes.

"Whenever an incident occurs in the city that affects youth, it always is going to be tragic and will indeed discolor the whole reputation of the school system and the city," Schiller said last night.

"We can't be responsible for things that occur outside of our jurisdiction, but certainly it has an impact on us."

City police had few details last night. Homicide detectives were interviewing several witnesses, including students and a young man the victim had been arguing with before police said a spectator fired five shots at the men.

Police said the victim, who had not been identified last night but who investigators believe to be about 20 years old, had been shot three times, including at least once in the head.

Officer Angelique Cook-Hayes, a police spokeswoman, said last night the person the victim was arguing with was not a student. She said detectives were searching for the gunman and the gun last night.

The shooting occurred about 3: 20 p.m. on St. Lo Drive near Harford Road, about a half-mile from the 2,500-student school, but on a main road leading to the building. The body was lying on its left side near a small tree on an embankment overlooking a baseball diamond in Clifton Park.

The scene, visible to motorists driving north on Harford Road, drew dozens of onlookers, including worried mothers, neighborhood residents returning from the grocery store, students walking home and youngsters riding their bicycles.

Daniele Alexander, 18, a Lake Clifton student, said she walked by the scene moments after the shooting and saw the victim, his face covered in blood, trying to move.

"He was still alive," said Alexander, who added that she did not recognize the victim as a student. "It's terrible. It's not a good way to start school."

The school system police chief, Leonard Hamm, was at the slaying scene but stressed that the incident had nothing to do with Lake Clifton-Eastern High School, which could not be seen from where the argument took place.

"This did not have anything to do with students," Hamm said. "It is your everyday Baltimore homicide. Where do you see the school? This is a park."

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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