Man shot, killed as he flees house fire

Arundel resident was on probation in murder case

January 19, 2001|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

A man on probation on a murder-accessory conviction was fatally shot and his mother wounded early yesterday -- apparently as they fled an arson fire that critically burned another relative living in the townhouse near the southwestern edge of Glen Burnie.

The shooting victims were identified as Andre Darnell Samuel, 26, and his mother, Janie B. Samuel, 46. The burn victim, Rhunette J. Fisk, 64, was said by neighbors to be the man's grandmother.

Andre Samuel was pronounced dead at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore nearly four hours after a 911 call brought firefighters -- and then police -- to the two-story home on Jumpers Court.

Janie Samuel, listed as owner of the townhouse, was released after treatment at Shock Trauma. Fisk was flown to the burn center at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and was listed last night in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Neighbors made several 911 calls, beginning at 3:20 a.m. with a report of the fire, and moments later reporting a shooting as well. Firefighters arrived to find flames coming out the front windows and the three victims lying on the ground in front of the home.

It took 35 firefighters a half-hour to control the blaze, which destroyed the home. The damage was estimated at more than $100,000. A firefighter was treated at the scene for minor facial burns.

Fire investigators said the blaze was deliberately set and originated near a rear sliding-glass door on the first floor, where traces of an accelerant were found.

The incident awakened next-door neighbors, who said they smelled smoke and heard sounds of people struggling to escape.

Derek T. Price, 41, said his wife woke him after hearing an explosion about 3:20 a.m. After seeing flames shooting out from behind the Samuels' residence, his wife called 911 and they ran outside, he said.

There, he saw Andre Samuel lying on the ground and his mother yelling, "He's been shot!" as black smoke billowed out the front door, Price said. The mother held her son tightly and did not seem to realize that she had been wounded, he said. The older woman's face and body were badly burned, Price said.

Yesterday, police combed the usually quiet, middle-class neighborhood for clues.

The Police Department said nothing about Andre Samuel's criminal record -- a guilty plea to being an accessory to murder in a double killing that occurred in Baltimore on Jan. 13, 1999 -- and whether that case could have been a factor in the arson and shooting.

Andre Samuel, his younger brother Corey B. Samuel, then 22, and Michael Yancey, then 19, were charged in the fatal shootings of two men during what city police characterized as a robbery attempt in the 1800 block of N. Milton Ave. in East Baltimore.

According to court papers, Andre Samuel was the driver of the vehicle that sped from the scene with his brother and Yancey as passengers. The trio had attended a basketball game and were going home when the robbery and shootings occurred.

In March, Andre Samuel pleaded guilty as an accessory in the deaths of Baltimore residents Brice Shufford, 35, of the 3800 block of Elmora Ave. and James Victor Henderson, 35, of the 3500 block of Chesterfield Ave. He was released on probation -- his sentence of five years suspended except for the time he spent in jail awaiting trial, according to court records.

Sun staff writers Caitlin Francke and Rona Kobell contributed to this article.

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