Two 16-year-old school dropouts were arrested yesterday in the shooting of a Loyola College senior who police said was wounded early Sunday after he tried to protect women from unwanted advances in a bar.
Detectives said they chased down the alleged trigger-man on Ash Street in Hampden about 7 a.m.
The second suspect in the wounding of Michael Langley, a 24-year-old economics major, surrendered at the state's attorney's office downtown shortly before noon.
The arrests came on the day Mayor Martin O'Malley announced an anticrime initiative using the faith community to help at-risk youths.
The age of the defendants, he said, demonstrates "how far we need to go to help Baltimore's children."
Police said the suspects, John William Fishback, of the 3400 block of Hickory Ave. in Hampden, and Jason Edward Hunt, of the 2100 block of Druid Park Drive in Woodberry, were charged as adults with attempted first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime.
They were being held without bail at the Central Booking and Intake Center pending a court hearing today.
The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
Interviews with one teen's attorney and another's longtime baby sitter, as well as neighbors and friends of both youths, reveal a troubling portrait of homes broken by drug addiction and absent parents.
Neither youth has recently been to school; Hunt dropped out after completing the seventh grade, said his lawyer, who did not know which institution he had attended.
Both teens were well known on Hampden's streets.
Neither suspect has an adult criminal record; officials declined to say whether they had been arrested as juveniles.
Langley's condition was upgraded to fair yesterday at Sinai Hospital, where he has been recovering from a bullet wound to the left side of his head.
Doctors told family members they are encouraged by his progress, but cautioned that it would be at least 72 hours from yesterday before a definitive prognosis could be made.
Langley, who lives in Ashburton, grew up in Anacostia in Southeast Washington, but was taken in by the headmaster of a Catholic school in Potomac, the Heights, which he attended through his senior year of high school.
He earned a scholarship to the Jesuit Loyola College, where officials reacted to the arrest with relief.
Students had packed a Monday night campus forum where a spokesman characterized the mood as "slightly apprehensive" about safety both on and off school grounds.
The shooting occurred about two miles from campus.
"I think now we can turn our attention to wishing Michael Langley the best recovery," college spokesman Mark Kelly said in a telephone interview.
"I look at the whole thing as a real tragedy, a senseless act," said Brian Condon, a friend of Langley for years when he was a student at the Heights School and later as Langley's basketball coach.
"It is sad that these people are so young."
Langley, a popular 6-foot-1 walk-on basketball off-guard for three years, was shot outside Gator's Pub in the 5900 block of York Road, a Loyola student hangout near the Belvedere Square Shopping Center and the Senator Theater.
Police said he intervened on behalf of female students who apparently were being hassled by two males, one of whom brandished a small .25-caliber handgun inside the bar.
The males apparently left the bar, and at least one returned and shot Langley just outside the pub's front door.
A bouncer tackled the gunman, who escaped but dropped the weapon.
Gator's is licensed by the Liquor Board as a restaurant, which means underage people are allowed inside.
They cannot drink alcohol; it was not clear yesterday whether the youths had consumed alcohol.
The bar's owner, Ray Santa, said his bouncers were checking identification, and he said he did not know how a 16-year-old got inside.
Liquor Board files show only a handful of underage drinking complaints at Gator's Pub in the past few years.
"To their credit, they've been good," said the board's executive secretary, Nathaniel C. Irby Jr.
The gun has not been determined to have been stolen, police said, but a full history of the weapon had not been learned yesterday.
It was being tested to show whether it was used in the shooting, police said; they would not say whether fingerprints were found.
Police said interviews with witnesses and other unspecified evidence led to Hampden and Woodberry.
About 7 a.m., detectives said, they pulled up to a house in the 3600 block of Ash St. and saw one suspect, later identified as the alleged shooter, bolt from a friend's house.
Officers chased him down the block and arrested him, said Agent Martin Bartness, a police spokesman.
A few hours later, they obtained an arrest warrant for the second suspect.
After police had been to his house, Hunt turned himself in about 11:30 a.m. inside the Mitchell Courthouse.
Hunt's Baltimore attorney, Leslie A. Stein, said his client had little to do with the shooting. Pub owner Santa had said the gunman was alone when Langley was shot.
"When we have the opportunity to present our side, I think the evidence will show that there was only one person responsible for this tragic incident, and it was not this defendant," Stein said.
The attorney offered little information on his client and declined to comment on whether the youngster had a juvenile record.
He said Hunt's parents are separated; neighbors said he lives with a cousin, Mistey Stilley.
"The real tragedy is that he has a seventh-grade education," Stein said.
Neighbors said Stilley's 15-year-old brother, who lived with them, died last summer of a drug overdose - his death memorialized in graffiti on the outside wall of Stilley's blue rowhouse: "R.I.P. Chad."
Nobody answered the door of Fishback's rowhouse. Neighbors said he lives with his father.