Violent weekend leaves 6 dead

Boy, 2, still critical

incidents blamed on drug fights, retaliation

May 01, 2001|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A weekend of violence that left six people dead and a 2-year-old fighting for his life is being blamed on fights over drug turf, retaliation and lingering anger over a year-old fistfight, police said yesterday.

Detectives were busy with four shootings, two stabbings -- including a female hospital worker found dead on a downtown bench -- and a teen-ager doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire.

Despite the weekend violence, the number of homicides since January remained behind last year's pace. Eighty-five people have been killed this year, compared with 98 at the same time last year.

Residents and officials reacted angrily to the shooting of Carlos Woods, 2, who was struck in the head by gunfire while retrieving his favorite drinking cup.

At a hearing for the man charged in Carlos' shooting, District Court Judge Timothy J. Doory responded to a public defender's request that he "consider a bail" by saying that any bail he would contemplate "would be so large and the conditions so onerous that I cannot imagine that the defendant could survive under the circumstances."

Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris called an emergency meeting of his top commanders yesterday.

"Things are bad enough," he said. "But when you have a 2-year-old boy, a true innocent shot, that's very disturbing."

Motives behind the incidents varied. Police said a former boyfriend has been charged in the death of the woman found stabbed Saturday on the bench at South Charles and Lombard streets. The teen-ager set on fire in front of his house in the first block of N. Patterson Park Ave. was attacked as a result of a fistfight a year ago, investigators said.

Retaliation was a common theme:

Friends of the burned teen fired on the car from which the flaming plastic bottle was thrown, killing the young driver who allegedly threw it, police said.

A double fatal shooting Sunday afternoon in the 1800 block of Lauretta Ave. in West Baltimore might be linked to a double shooting that wounded two men Saturday, directly across the street, police said.

In Carlos' shooting Friday, police said the gunman was aiming at another man, who was wounded, and was responding to shootings Wednesday and Thursday. Those were the result of a dispute over drug territory, police said.

"Every so often, a situation ignites where there are warring drug gangs," Norris said.

Carlos was standing on the front steps of his rowhouse in the 1800 block of N. Chapel St. when a passenger in a car opened fire on Darryl Hairston, 20, who after being wounded in the thigh dived through Carlos' open door.

Carlos remained in critical condition yesterday at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. A prosecutor said in court that the toddler has "a 50-50 chance at survival." A police detective said the boy was on life support.

Police were seeking the driver of the car. He was identified as Samuel Munford, 18, of the 2300 block of Orleans St., and was charged in a warrant with two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

The passenger in the car, Kenneth Kelly 24, of the 1700 block of N. Durham St. was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder early Saturday and was ordered held without bail yesterday by Doory.

"I don't know whether this child will survive," Assistant State's Attorney Louis K. Coleman said in court. "This is as bad as it gets."

Police continued yesterday to investigate the other incidents. About 1:30 a.m. Saturday, police said Antonio Travers, 26, of the 6900 block of McClean Blvd. was fatally stabbed in the 2000 block of E. North Ave. Police attributed the motive to a drug dispute.

About 7 a.m., Romaine White, 27, was found dead on a bench at Charles and Lombard streets. The dietary service worker at Sinai Hospital had been waiting for a bus.

Charged in a warrant with first-degree murder is her former boyfriend, Ronald Noble, 46, of the 2200 block of Baker St. Police said they think White was followed from her home on Division Street to the bus stop.

Police have not identified the two victims who were shot Sunday afternoon on Lauretta Avenue. Both young men were shot in the head. Investigators said they were trying to determine whether their deaths are linked to shootings that left two men wounded in the same block on Saturday.

The firebombing occurred shortly after 8 p.m., when the driver of a Chevrolet Impala threw the plastic bottle onto Robert Owens, 16, who was sitting on the front steps of his home in the first block of N. Patterson Park Ave., police said.

Police said friends opened fire on the car, killing the driver, identified as Trunell Owens, 19, who is not related to the burn victim. No arrests had been made.

Robert Owens was listed in serious condition yesterday at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Maj. Robert M. Stanton, commander of the homicide unit, said the motive in that case appeared to be a fistfight that involved the two Owens teen-agers a year ago.

"Sunday night, they saw each other, and it escalated," Stanton said.

The fourth killing Sunday -- and the sixth during the weekend -- occurred about 10 p.m. in the 800 block of Vine St. in West Baltimore. An unidentified man was found shot behind the steering wheel of a Mercury Marquis.

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