Man charged in killing at hotel party

Elkridge resident, 20, faces several counts in the shootings

Chief defends police efforts

Concern raised over students' treatment being investigated

January 19, 2001|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Howard County police arrested and charged a 20-year-old Elkridge man yesterday in a double shooting at a Columbia hotel Saturday night that left one Long Reach High School senior dead and another seriously wounded.

Last night, concerns over police response to the crime were addressed at a meeting where the arrest was the topic.

Shamal Ira Chapman of the 6700 block of Old Waterloo Road was picked up for questioning early yesterday and shortly thereafter was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and a weapons violation, police said. If convicted of first-degree murder, Chapman could face the death penalty.

The shooting occurred during a late-night party at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in the 8900 block of Stanford Blvd. Andre Devonne Corinaldi, 18, of Columbia was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lauren Nicole Perkins, 17, of Elkridge was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with a head wound. A hospital spokeswoman said yesterday that Perkins' condition had been upgraded from critical to serious but stable.

Chapman was denied bail yesterday and was expected to have a bail review hearing this morning. He was being held at Howard County Detention Center in Jessup.

Chapman said nothing to reporters outside the Howard County District Court Commissioner's office when asked about the charges.

Police said witnesses at the hotel party reported an argument between Chapman, who had not been invited to the party, and another uninvited male guest. Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said that neither Corinaldi nor Perkins was involved in the dispute.

Police said witnesses told them that Chapman and the other guest were separated and put into adjoining rooms, numbered 123 and 125, where they continued to argue through a closed door.

About 10:55 p.m., a series of shots was fired through the door, striking Corinaldi and Perkins, police said.

Court documents released yesterday state that the gunman had apparently fired into Room 123 from a bathroom in Room 125. Police said at least one witness reported seeing a man in the bathroom holding a handgun and telling people to step aside.

Police had set up a tip line to take calls on the shooting.

"The investigation is ongoing and we are working with the hotel to identify the events of the evening" the shooting took place, Llewellyn said. She added, however, that police did not expect to make additional arrests in the case.

The actions of hotel staff came under fire in County Executive James N. Robey's State of the County address yesterday. During his remarks on juvenile crime, he said of the shooting, "This most recent incident disturbs me even more when I hear a total shirking of responsibility on the part of personnel at the hotel in which it occurred. This is unacceptable! It is an invitation to disaster."

Robey's office did not return a phone call requesting elaboration on his remarks. Michael A. Walker, the general manager of Columbia's Courtyard by Marriott, said yesterday that hotel staff had told partyers to stop letting people in through a side entrance, and had been told that most of the party-goers were going home. When they heard that there was a gun in one room, Walker said, hotel employees immediately called police.

"We really feel we did the best we could," Walker said. "We're all just as hurt as everybody else is. Morale is extremely low, and we're feeling the pain."

In the auditorium of Long Reach High School last night, police held a public meeting to discuss the shooting and the arrest. Police Chief Wayne Livesay addressed charges made by Kevin L. Antoine, a New Jersey labor-relations consultant whose daughter was at the hotel party.

Antoine sent an e-mail to Livesay on Tuesday stating that witnesses had said police physically harassed partygoers, took over a half-hour to arrive at the scene and initially failed to treat Corinaldi as he lay dying.

Livesay said police records showed that the response time was two minutes and 12 seconds and that police immediately tried to take Corinaldi's pulse, but found that he was dead.

"Had there been any sign [of life] at all, this person would have been transferred out of there," Livesay said of Corinaldi.

Livesay said police were investigating the harassment charge and would make their findings public.

Several of the questions and comments at the forum were from parents who had general concerns about how to protect kids from violence - whether at parties, at school or on the street.

Lisa Cooper-Lucas of Kings Contrivance, who is on the executive board of the parent-teacher association and has a daughter who is a senior at Long Reach, said the job of ensuring safety starts at home.

"If you identify that your kids are not doing what they need to do to be OK, you need to deal with that," Cooper-Lucas said.

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