Teen shot in ambush collapses in field during football game Victim, 18, is expected to survive, police say

October 09, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A teen-ager walking near a Northeast Baltimore high school was shot during an ambush yesterday afternoon and then ran onto a football field, where he collapsed in the midst of a junior-varsity game, city police said.

Stunned players and spectators said they heard a burst of gunfire from woods near the field at Lake Clifton-Eastern High School and watched the victim run and fall about 30 feet from the east-side end zone.

Police said last night they took a suspect into custody and were questioning him.

Police identified the victim as Jason Crowthers, 18, of the 3300 block of Lyndale Ave. a former Lake Clifton student.

Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman, said four or five shots were fired by one of two men who apparently were hiding in woods east of the football field and waiting for Crowthers to walk by on a secluded dirt path. A motive for the shooting was not known.

Crowthers was struck once in the right thigh. He was in critical condition last night at Johns Hopkins Hospital and expected to survive, police said.

The shooting occurred about 4: 30 p.m., during halftime of the football game between Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Lake Clifton. Spectators used their cellular phones to call 911 and notify police.

Wallace Dodd said he was getting out of his car in the parking lot when a friend ran up to him and told him of the gunfire.

Dodd, a football coach for the Northwood Pop Warner league, ran to the field and attended to Crowthers, one of his former players.

"He was talking," said Dodd, who wrapped his belt around the victim's leg to stop the bleeding. "He said he just wanted to pass out. He said he was just walking in the woods when two men jumped out and one started shooting."

Sgt. Mark Tomlin of the Violent Crimes Task Force said detectives recovered several shell casings from a semiautomatic handgun on the path, which cannot be seen from the nearby field.

Police said Crowthers was walking away from the field when he was ambushed. He turned and ran back toward the school as the gunman opened fire. Investigators said it appears that shots were fired toward the field.

Crowthers ran from the path and onto an access road between the woods and a fence where school property begins. He ran north along the fence, turned in through an open gate and fell near the end zone.

Police cordoned off the scene with yellow tape, leaving the victim's shoes and book bag in the wet grass, but they allowed the game to continue.

Pub Date: 10/09/98

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