Harassment charge made about police

Father of partygoer complains of students' treatment at shooting

Chief to address `concerns'

Officers responded to incident at hotel

1 teen died, 1 wounded

January 17, 2001|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Three days after a double-shooting at a Columbia hotel party left a Long Reach High School senior dead and another in critical condition, the father of one of the partyers has filed a complaint against Howard County police, alleging that officers physically harassed students.

Kevin L. Antoine, a Teaneck, N.J., labor-relations consultant whose daughter attended the party Saturday night, also accuses police of failing to act promptly to help Andre Devonne Corinaldi, 18, of Columbia, who was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the first Howard County homicide victim of the year.

Corinaldi and another Long Reach senior, Lauren Nicole Perkins, 17, of Elkridge, were shot through a door separating two rooms during a party at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in the 8900 block of Stanford Blvd. in Columbia's Owen Brown village. Perkins was in critical but stable condition yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

In an e-mail message sent yesterday to Howard County Police Chief Wayne Livesay, Antoine wrote that, according to witnesses, police had handcuffed and booked students and took their belongings even though they were witnesses and not suspects in the shooting.

He also charged that Corinaldi was alive when police arrived at the scene and "was not attended to and left gasping for air."

Saying "the students that were subjected to this egregious conduct on behalf of HCP [Howard County police] were African-American and/or of color," Antoine wrote that he is considering filing a federal lawsuit.

"The chief has not yet seen such a complaint, but when he does, he will certainly respond to the parent's concerns," police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said yesterday.

The shooting marks the second time in three months that Long Reach High has faced the violent death of one of its students.

On Nov. 3, 14-year-old freshman Ashley Nicole Mason was found stabbed and strangled behind a Pizza Hut at Bendix Road and Route 108. Two men have been charged in the killing.

Llewellyn said investigators had no clear sense of what motivated the hotel shootings. She said Corinaldi and Perkins appear to have been shot by someone firing at random.

"What we believe preliminarily was that these two victims were not targeted," she said.

The spokeswoman said police have interviewed more than 15 people, and that a few possible witnesses who fled the party before police arrived are being sought for questioning.

Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting, and they have established a tip line at 410-313-2283. They scheduled a community meeting on the shooting at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Long Reach High School.

Llewellyn said police believe the celebration was a surprise party - at least one parent says it was a birthday party - attended by an unknown number of guests, both invited and uninvited.

"We've narrowed our field of suspects," Llewellyn said. "Each day since the crime occurred, we have moved a step closer to identifying a suspect in this case."

Yesterday was the first day back to classes for Long Reach High students after the shooting. In front of the school, the Maryland flag was flown at half-staff in memory of Corinaldi. On the flagpole's base was graffiti commemorating the school's earlier tragedy: "RIP Ashley - We Love You."

Andrew C. Elgort, a psychologist for the county school system, was part of a team of counselors at Long Reach. He said he and his colleagues are concerned about the effect that acts of violence could have on other students.

"We don't want children to become used to this," Elgort said. "This is not an OK thing. We want them to feel some outrage about it, I suppose."

There was anger among some students and weariness about being subjects of another round of school-in-mourning stories. From a classroom window, students yelled to reporters, "Go home."

In the chilly afternoon air, under a bank of dark clouds, a ring of Long Reach sophomores kicked around a hackey sack. In tones of frustration and disbelief, they talked about the slaying of someone who only a few days ago was walking in the hallways of the high school.

Thomas Chickanis, 15, summed up their sentiments: "It's just sad that people would stoop to something that low, even though it's against everything you're taught."

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