Inspectors condemn block of houses in East Baltimore Sunday's fatal shooting speeds up demolition plans

July 09, 1998|By John B. O'Donnell | John B. O'Donnell,SUN STAFF

Paving the way for a wholesale demolition, city inspectors yesterday condemned every house on the East Baltimore block where a teen-ager was shot to death Sunday, allegedly by the lone resident.

Razing of the 22 houses in the 1600 block of Llewelyn Avenue should occur in the next two months, after the owners have been notified and given a chance to protest, according to Zack Germroth, spokesman for the city Department of Housing and Community Development. "We don't expect significant resistance," he said. "Most of them are long-term abandoned properties."

The block had already been targeted for demolition as part of the ambitious plan of the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition to raze 400 houses and rehabilitate another 500 in a 230-square-block area, bounded by North Avenue, Fayette Street, Aisquith Street and Kenwood Avenue, Germroth said.

Destruction was accelerated after 15-year-old Jermaine Jordan was shot in the back as he ran through one of the vacant houses Sunday evening. Police said he was fleeing a man who, angered that a brick had been thrown at his car, fired a .25-caliber handgun twice.

Albert Sims, a 77-year-old janitor, has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail. Police said Sims is the only resident of the narrow alley street.

The Llewelyn Avenue demolitions are part of a stepped-up city campaign to rid Baltimore of nearly 22,000 abandoned and crumbling houses over the next 10 years.

The owner of Sims' home could not be reached for comment. The owner of another 10 houses on the block said he expects the city to take over nine of them for nonpayment of taxes. He said the block lost the battle to drugs and crime.

Pub Date: 7/09/98

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