Harwood woman, 24, shot while watching TV at home

Hit in back of head, she is in serious but stable condition

January 05, 2000|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

In a shooting that is baffling investigators, a south county woman was shot in the back of the head at her rural home late Monday as she sat on her sofa watching television, county police said.

Marie Wallis, 24, of the 4600 block of Owensville Sudley Road in Harwood was in serious but stable condition yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Investigators were looking for shell casings or other clues yesterday. They said the woman's house is too far off the road for the shooting to have been a drive-by. It would have been unusual -- and illegal -- for a hunter to have been shooting game near midnight. The area is rural farmland with each house on at least 2 acres, neighbors said.

"I don't want to tell people to be fearful, but we just can't say how this came to be yet," said police spokesman Lt. Jeff Kelly.

Wallis was watching television in her home's family room about 11: 30 p.m. when she felt something hit the back of her head, police said. She felt her head, saw blood on her hand and yelled for her husband, who had gone to bed, police said.

Kenneth Wallis III called paramedics, who called police after they determined that the woman had been shot, police said. Kelly said Wallis was conscious and alert while paramedics worked on her. He did not know how far the bullet had penetrated or whether there was an exit wound.

Investigators said the bullet entered the house through a side window perpendicular to the street. The house is 35 to 40 yards off the road, and the side of the house which the bullet came from is heavily wooded, police said.

Detectives used dogs last night and yesterday morning to comb the woods surrounding the house in search of clues. Kelly would not say what, if anything, investigators found.

Neighbors closest to the home said they didn't hear any sounds like gunshots that night, but two others had incidents to report. One said his car was broken into overnight, and another on a farm across from the house said her barn gates were open yesterday morning. It was unknown whether the incidents were related.

"I'm stunned and my neighbors are shaken that something like this would happen in our neighborhood," said Kathy Wayson. She said the elderly owner of the house where the shooting occurred has been in Paris and that the couple had been renting the place for less than four months. "The worst we've had was our mailboxes beat up."

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