Police charge man in possible revenge killing

Suspect related to victims of Dec. mass shootings

February 15, 2000|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

A man who survived the killings in December of five women in Northeast Baltimore -- and was later arrested for allegedly kidnapping a woman and threatening to kill one of his relatives -- is wanted in a revenge slaying, police said yesterday.

A first-degree murder warrant has been issued for Ronald P. McNeil, 37, of the 3500 block of Elmley Ave. in Belair-Edison, where the five drug-related killings occurred Dec. 5.

The warrant contends he shot and killed Chris Manning, 22, about noon Jan. 25 at O'Donnell Street and Demarcay Way.

"The motive was revenge for the killing of the five women," said police spokeswoman Angelique Cook-Hayes.

McNeil has been in the Baltimore jail since a shootout Feb. 3 with police at the Elmley Avenue home. Police said he could be formally charged in Manning's killing as early as today.

McNeil's mother, sister and niece were among the five women killed in the house when four gunman opened fire when they could not find a 2.2-pound package of cocaine they were seeking.

Two family friends also were killed in the home and, the next morning, McNeil's nephew was found dead behind a nearby elementary school.

On Feb. 3, police were trying to serve McNeil with a false imprisonment arrest warrant, alleging he kidnapped a woman and forced her at gunpoint to phone his brother-in-law and lure him to the Elmley Avenue home.

"Get him over here, so I can do him," McNeil told the woman, according to a statement of charges filed in Baltimore District Court. The woman has been identified as Priscilla Harrison.

When the brother-in-law refused, McNeil threatened the woman's family, police said. "If you breathe a word to this to anyone, I know where your family lives," he said, according to charging documents.

McNeil is accused of firing four shots at police.

Police officials, who have never fully explained the December shooting, would not say yesterday how Manning might have been connected to the carnage in the Elmley Avenue home. Cook-Hayes said police never considered Manning a suspect. However, Manning lived in the 6100 block of Toone St. in O'Donnell Heights, a community where the massacre suspects and some of the victims first became acquainted.

"We already have our four suspects in jail," Cook-Hayes said.

Four men, connected to an O'Donnell Heights drug gang, were indicted last month on murder charges in the shooting of the women.

McNeil -- convicted of assault with intent to murder in 1993 and sentenced to six years in prison -- has told reporters that he witnessed the five slayings and escaped by playing dead as the gunmen opened fire on the women, some of whom were sitting next to him in the basement of the home.

A week after the killings, McNeil gave television news crews a tour of the bloodstained house and recounted how he survived. Police have neither confirmed nor rebutted his story.

He continued to live in the house until his arrest.

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