Police charge man in West Baltimore attack Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood expresses relief after arrest

June 15, 1998|By Neal Thompson | Neal Thompson,SUN STAFF

For a few weeks residents in and around the 1300 block of N. Calhoun St. in West Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood steeled themselves against the threat of a suspected serial rapist.

They walked only in pairs or groups. They stayed indoors at night. New St. Paul Holy Church kept its doors locked. One teen-ager said he started carrying a knife concealed in a wad of paper towels.

But residents breathed a little easier yesterday after learning that police had arrested and charged 50-year-old Ronald Andre Jackson with raping a woman on May 30 in a vacant rowhouse at 1344 N. Calhoun, next to the church.

Police said Jackson, who lives a dozen blocks to the south in the 800 block of W. Saratoga St., is also a suspect in three other attacks on women that occurred in recent weeks in that vacant house.

Police said the investigation was continuing, "but we have not ruled out the possibility that he will be charged in the other three rapes," said police spokeswoman Ragina L. Cooper.

The suspect was spotted Saturday morning walking along Fremont Avenue. A resident had recognized him from the composite drawings on the thousands of fliers police had distributed.

The resident called police, who canvassed the area and arrested Jackson at Mulberry and Schroeder streets.

Jackson was charged early yesterday after he was questioned by police, who accused him of dragging a woman into the abandoned house May 30 and threatening her with a stun gun and a knife.

Police charged Jackson with first- and second-degree rape, first- and second-degree assault, abduction, possession of deadly weapons -- the stun gun and knife -- and possession of heroin.

Police said the first reported attack in the vacant rowhouse occurred May 13 -- the suspect was armed with a silver and

black revolver -- followed by the May 30 attack. They said that June 8, a woman was threatened with a cinder block and held overnight. Three days later, a 26-year-old woman was hit with a brick, grabbed from behind and dragged into the rowhouse, but escaped before she was sexually assaulted.

Residents said yesterday they were hoping for life to return to normal.

"A lot of the neighbors were really upset," said Darel Savage, who lives a few doors from the site of the attacks. "People were talking about trying to get this guy themselves."

Churchgoers at New St. Paul Holy Church said they'd probably unlock the doors at night again, and would worry a little less about their children.

"We're real relieved," said Valerie Savage, a church neighbor. "People had been staying in their homes, walking in twos, sticking together."

Pub Date: 6/15/98

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