Man, 19, charged in fatal shooting outside high school

Police think killing in January grew out of neighborhood dispute

May 11, 2001|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF WRITER

A 19-year-old man has been charged in January's fatal shooting of a student outside Lake Clifton-Eastern High School in Northeast Baltimore just before classes began, city police said yesterday.

Police arrested Gerald A. Lane of the 5100 block of Edmondson Ave. in West Baltimore late Thursday at his workplace at Johns Hopkins Hospital without incident. He was charged with first-degree murder and handgun violations, said homicide Detective Darren Sanders, who investigated the case.

The fatal shooting of Juan Matthews, 17, was the first on school property that officials could recall in years. Matthews was approaching the front entrance of Lake Clifton about 8:45 a.m. Jan. 17 when two men approached him, police said.

One of the men started shooting at Matthews with a .32-caliber handgun, hitting him three times, police said. Matthews collapsed inside the school and died several hours later at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

From the beginning, school and police officials said they suspected the shooting stemmed from a neighborhood dispute. Yesterday, Sanders said Matthews was apparently shot in retribution for a fight that occurred about a month before the killing. The nature of the dispute was not disclosed.

Detectives were led to the suspect after questioning friends of Matthews who lived in the 5100 block of Conant Way. Those friends described a December fight between Matthews and Lane, who grew up in the 3900 block of Lyndale Ave., only blocks from Matthews' home, Sanders said.

Witnesses identified Lane through photo lineups as the person who shot Matthews, court documents indicate.

Sanders said police are looking for a possible accomplice.

Lane, a housekeeper at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was scheduled to go before a District Court commissioner for his first bail hearing last evening, officials said.

The killing of Matthews rocked the 2,400 students at the city's largest high school.

After the shooting, about 100 students scrambled for cover, many of them into the building, and school officials and police swarmed over the campus trying to calm tensions.

Police initially questioned two young men who were driving near the school, but released them after determining they had not committed the crime.

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