Youth shot outside school

Incident is second this year on grounds of Lake Clifton high

16-year-old is charged

September 21, 2001|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

An 11th-grader at Baltimore's largest high school was shot yesterday outside the building, the second time in eight months a dispute has turned violent on the grounds.

Lawrence Grant, 17, was grabbed by an attacker and shot in the abdomen and right buttock outside Lake Clifton-Eastern High School about 1 p.m. -- between lunch periods -- in an incident city police said appeared related to a "neighborhood dispute."

Grant, who was supposed to be in class, ran inside the school for help.

He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where doctors operated on him for five hours, officials said.

Police arrested Brandon L. Bayne, 16, of Baltimore about 7 p.m. and charged him as an adult with attempted first-degree murder, said police spokesman Kevin Enright.

"So far, we believe only one person was involved," said Enright, who declined to say where Bayne was arrested. As of last night, no weapon had been found.

The apparent motive for the shooting was a neighborhood dispute, he said.

In January, a ninth-grader at Lake Clifton, a school of about 2,400 students in Northeast Baltimore, was shot three times outside the front entrance shortly before morning classes began. Juan Matthews, 17, died the same day.

Police arrested and charged a 19-year-old man with first-degree murder in that shooting, which was also believed to have stemmed from a neighborhood dispute.

Lake Clifton Principal Veronica Brown emphasized yesterday that the school building is safe, but said that more needs to be done to protect the neighborhoods surrounding it.

"It's around us," Brown said of the violence. "We're working on [improving] the community, but what can you say? It's not so much our school is unsafe. It's this whole east side."

Some students said they think more could be done to protect students and the sprawling campus.

"They need to do something, for real," said Eric Tucker, 15, a sophomore, who had gathered with friends behind the school after classes, near where police had strung up yellow crime-scene tape. "They need to put [in] metal detectors. They need to get strict."

Tucker said he heard the gunshots while he was in English class, but thought it was someone banging on a locker in the hall.

"I heard the noise go pop-pop-pop," he said. "I didn't pay it no mind."

Later, the principal spoke on the intercom and told them what had happened.

"Who knows?" Tucker said. "What if someone comes into the school and retaliates? It's like safety is the last thing on their minds."

Freshman Charmaine Stern, 14, said she likes Lake Clifton but is worried about the violence.

"I feel unsafe, because that could have been any of us," she said. "I don't feel safe here anymore."

Police said Grant, a resident of the 3700 block of Ravenwood Ave., was outside the southeastern section of the building when someone grabbed his collar and shot him in the abdomen with a handgun.

When the student started running, police said, the man shot him again in the right buttock.

Grant ran into the building and made it to the second floor, where he found help and someone called 911, police said.

The gunman fled.

Vanessa Pyatt, a spokeswoman for the city school system, said Grant had left Lake Clifton for some reason and was on his way back inside when the shooting occurred.

Brown said Grant should not have been outside.

"At that time he should have been in class," the principal said.

The victim was scheduled to have lunch about 15 minutes later.

Brown, who planned to visit Grant's mother last night at the hospital, said extra counselors were dispatched to Lake Clifton yesterday, but that most students stayed calm and resumed their normal routines.

She said the school has started issuing photo identification cards to all of its students, color-coded by grade, as a safety precaution.

As students boarded Maryland Transit Administration buses in the parking lot to go home yesterday afternoon, Brown had a message for them: "I simply said, `Get home safely. I'll see you tomorrow.'"

Sun staff writer Del Quentin Wilber contributed to this article.

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