Through essay, woman grieves her son's slaying

Morgan State student shot Thursday night

September 06, 1999|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

Coping with the death of her son, a Morgan State University student, in an unexplained shooting, a Montgomery County mother put her grief in writing yesterday -- in an essay on urban violence.

Brenda Alexander of Burtonsville said her 19-year-old son, Elward J. Alexander III, who was studying to be an accountant, was shot in the head Thursday night and died Friday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Sgt. Scott Rowe, a Baltimore police spokesman, said Alexander was shot about 11: 45 p.m. in the 4400 block of Marble Hall Road, a few blocks from campus. As of yesterday, there was no suspect or known motive, he said.

"I want to tell my story," Alexander wrote in her essay. "The most horrifying thing in life has happened to me."

Alexander said she knew little more than that her son was standing outside when a gunshot was heard, and he fell to the ground. She arrived at the hospital at 3 a.m. Friday, and her son was pronounced dead at 10: 45 a.m.

"My son wasn't the type of child who was involved in drugs or violence," she said. "He was the victim here."

Elward Alexander -- known as "Bud" to his family and "E" to his friends -- had worked as an intern this summer in the accounting department at Patrician Financial in Bethesda, where his mother works, and was preparing to continue the internship in fall.

Brenda Alexander, a single parent, said her son wanted to graduate and get a good job to help take care of his younger brother, Brandon Thomas Alexander, 16. The brothers were very close, she said. They spent hours working together on old cars.

"He wanted to make sure his brother was taken care of and could go to college," she said. "He wanted to be a good role model."

Brenda Alexander said that after her son spent his freshman year in a dormitory and his sophomore year in an apartment, he decided to live at home this year and commute to school. He had car problems Wednesday night and took the auto to a shop in Baltimore the next day.

"He picked his car up Thursday evening and decided to stay with friends because he had class Friday," Alexander said. "That was the last night I talked to him."

Alexander said writing about urban -- and "black-on-black" -- violence helped to relieve some of her grief. "My race has serious problems with our children. Violence has become a way of life for the children; they do not value life," she wrote.

She said she might send the essay to other media outlets.

"This just has to stop," she said. "People need to be aware of what is happening out there."

Pub Date: 9/06/99

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