High school student among two victims in fatal city shootings

Killings bring total for Baltimore to 98 since beginning of year

April 27, 2000|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Two people -- including a 16-year-old high school student -- were shot and killed within an hour yesterday afternoon, continuing a spate of violence that has claimed 98 lives in Baltimore in less than four months.

The first killing occurred about 2 p.m. at West Lanvale and Poplar Grove streets in West Baltimore. The name of the victim was not immediately released, but police said he appeared to be in his late teens or early 20s.

About 3 p.m., Nolan Morris was shot about 3 p.m. on a side street off Frederick Avenue on the city's southwest side.

The shootings occurred hours before Baltimore's acting police Commissioner Edward T. Norris met with residents to discuss his plan for reducing violence. He has promised to cut homicides and end a decadelong string of 300-plus killings a year.

The two homicides were the city's 97th and 98th of the year; 30 have occurred this month. Last year at this time, 72 people had been killed.

The shooting off Frederick Avenue prompted an outpouring of emotion from Morris' family and friends, who tried to break through a police line and get to his body, which lay on a grassy hill.

"I try to tell my boys to stop the hustling," said Levi J. Stukes, who coaches recreation league basketball and has known Morris since he was a toddler. "People kill quick around here, and that's one of my own up on that hill."

Homicide detectives could offer no motive at the scene. They said a man apparently chased and shot Morris, who lived in the neighborhood on Chapelgate Lane.

Morris ran and collapsed on the front lawn of a house on Random Road, about 200 yards from Frederick Avenue, a main thoroughfare for traffic headed to and from Baltimore County.

The shooting occurred shortly after several nearby schools had let out, and a yellow school bus packed with children was stopped on Chapelgate Lane. The youngsters mingled with the crowd and watched police work around the body, and then were driven away under police escort. It was unclear whether any saw the incident.

Tensions grew when Morris' relatives showed up. His sister cried and shouted at officers for information. Then, the victim's friends arrived and tried to get to the body.

Officers pushed the crowd back to Frederick Avenue and called for reinforcements. More than a dozen officers went to the area and restored order with their batons out and holding cans of pepper spray.

Two witnesses who were handcuffed fought as officers put them into the back of patrol cars.

Stukes, wearing his yellow coach's shirt, helped police by pleading with people to move away. He said he knows Morris' friends from the Fred R. Leidig Recreation Center, where they play basketball. Morris, who played guard on the rec team, was a junior at Southwestern High School.

Sun staff writer Mark Ribbing contributed to this article.

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