Janitor charged in shooting at Baltimore school Co-worker uninjured during argument

May 20, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A custodian at a Baltimore elementary school is accused of shooting at a co-worker during an argument about work while school was in session yesterday, police said.

The bullet struck the floor of a "slop room" at Mount Royal Elementary School and did not injure anyone, police said. They said the "slop room" is in a second-floor alcove of the school and is not near classrooms.

Police said the custodian charged in the shooting, Anthony J. Hopkins, 41, had been arrested 10 times and convicted twice since he was hired by the Baltimore school system in 1981.

Hopkins was working for the schools despite an effort by school police to conduct criminal background checks on employees and fire those with criminal records.

Yesterday's shooting occurred about 11: 50 a.m. in a janitor's office.

Police said the suspect ran out of the school in the 100 block of McMechen St. and surrendered two hours later at a lawyer's office.

Police said they recovered a handgun -- they could not immediately say what type or caliber -- at a house belonging to relatives of the suspect.

Sgt. Sandra Potts of the school police said Hopkins was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a deadly weapon on school property. He was being held at the Central Booking and Intake Center yesterday awaiting a bail hearing.

Since 1981, Hopkins has been charged with crimes including assault, resisting arrest and drug possession with intent to distribute, according to court records.

Dispositions of many of the cases were not available yesterday, but court records show Hopkins was convicted in 1985 of drug possession and in 1987 of assault. He received a 30-day suspended sentence in each case.

The city school system has been conducting criminal background checks on its employees since 1986, with an eye toward firing those convicted of crimes, said spokeswoman Vanessa Pyatt.

But Hopkins is the second employee with a criminal conviction to surface through media attention since January.

Norris Davis was fired as a Northern High School counselor in January when school officials learned he had been convicted twice of theft before he was hired in 1993. He was dismissed even though officials knew of his record when he was hired.

Police identified the custodian who was shot at as Anthony Pulley, 39. They said the two apparently were arguing about work, possibly job performance.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

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