Police try to identify gunman in bus shooting 15-year-old killed during argument

September 12, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Police investigating Wednesday night's triple shooting aboard an MTA bus near Union Square in West Baltimore are continuing to try to identify the gunman and to determine why he opened fire and killed his 15-year-old seatmate.

Detective Sean Harrison of the homicide unit said yesterday that he had several passengers to interview in trying to determine why the victim and the shooter were arguing.

"We have conflicting stories of what transpired," Harrison said, adding that he had no evidence that the two knew each other.

Two passengers hit by stray bullets were released from a hospital yesterday.

Rodney Barnes of the 4400 block of Pall Mall Road in Northwest Baltimore and the shooter had been sitting on the right side of the Mass Transit Administration bus, behind the rear double doors.

Officer Angelique Cook-Hayes, a city police spokeswoman, said witnesses on the bus told investigators the two were arguing in very low voices when the victim was heard saying to the suspect, "Show me what you got." Cook-Hayes said the youth then was heard muttering, "If you're going to use it, use it."

When the boy got up, the shooting started.

She said it was not known how long the pair had been sitting with each other or where they got on the bus.

Two passengers and the bus driver, a 10-year MTA veteran whose name was not released, were slightly injured in the scramble to get off the westbound No. 2 bus, which runs between City Hall and Catonsville.

The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. in the 100 block of S. Gilmor St. Two passengers sitting near the gunman and victim were wounded. Police identified them yesterday as Anthony Morton, 36, and Deborah Jean Smith-Sampson, 32, both of whom live in Southwest Baltimore.

Police said Morton was shot once in the right side and Smith-Sampson was hit in the right buttock. Both were released yesterday from Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

They could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Cook-Hayes said the dead youth was identified through school notebooks found near his body but that she didn't know what school he attended.

The gunman was described only as black, in his late teens, wearing a blue and white plaid shirt, dark pants and black tennis shoes, and carrying a knapsack.

Harrison said that after the shooting, the driver pulled to the curb outside Steuart Hill Elementary School.

He apparently did not have time to call in the shooting over his radio, but someone flagged down a nearby police officer to report what happened.

The detective said the driver got off the bus, leaving the doors closed, but that passengers -- 20 were on board -- could get off.

Barnes was hit several times in the chest and head, police said, and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Pub Date: 9/12/97

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