Three injured in shooting at closed pool Victims had broken in for late swim, police say

June 27, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Less than a day after vandalism closed a Southeast Baltimore pool, a gunman opened fire with a shotgun at a pool on the city's northwest side, wounding three people who had broken in for a late-night swim, police said.

Two young men suffered minor wounds and were released early yesterday from Sinai Hospital. But police said 17-year-old Aisha Lewis was struck in the face, arms and legs with birdshot and was in serious condition yesterday at Sinai Hospital.

The shooting occurred about 11: 45 p.m. Thursday at the Liberty Recreation Center in the 3900 block of Maine Ave., just off Liberty Heights Avenue. Police said a gunman stood outside a chain-link fence and fired six shots at the three, pausing a second between each blast.

The victims -- who all live near the pool -- scattered. Lewis and Douglas McLeod ran through a hole that had been cut in the fence, and Eugene McCallister dived into the water, police said. McCallister, 20, was struck in the face and chest, and McLeod, 23, was hit in the face, body and arms, police said.

Police reported no arrests, but said they recovered six spent shotgun shells.

Officials with the Department of Recreation and Parks said the incident highlights the dangers of breaking into the city's 24 public pools after they have closed for the night.

"People have got to swim in the safest way possible, and that certainly doesn't include cutting our fences and entering illegally," said Portia Harris, assistant director of the recreation department's aquatics program.

Early Thursday, someone cut through a fence at the Patterson Park pool and dumped copy machine toner into the water, contaminating more than 500,000 gallons. The pool will remain closed until Monday at least, while city temperatures are soaring above 90 degrees.

The recreation department pays overtime for police to work poolside during hours of operation, and officers are required to pay close attention to parks during patrols.

Tom Overton, the Department of Recreation and Parks director, said his employees drive to city pools to discourage trespassers. Police arrested 10 people Thursday night and early yesterday who were swimming after hours.

Pub Date: 6/27/98

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