Man, 23, shot in head in apartment parking lot

1st homicide of 2002 in Howard County

January 27, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A Columbia man became the first homicide victim in Howard County this year when he died just before midnight Friday after being shot in the head in front of the Stevens Forest Apartment Complex in Oakland Mills earlier in the evening.

Deshawn Anthony Wallace, 23, of the 9200 block of Connell Court was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center about 8 p.m. Friday after police discovered him lying in a parking lot in the 5800 block of Stevens Forest Road.

Police released few details about the incident.

The shooting frightened Stevens Forest residents, who have met with police numerous times since a double homicide in the area two years ago.

David Hatch, chairman of the village board, said the double killing served as a wake-up call for residents and said the community has worked hard to improve safety in the past few years.

"I definitely believe it has gotten safer here," Hatch said. "But it only takes one spectacular homicide or crime to change perceptions."

Some Stevens Forest Apartment Complex residents said concerns about safety have prompted them to consider moving.

Diane Harris, who lives in an apartment with her daughters, ages 6 and 14, said she is actively trying to relocate.

"I used to live over on the other side of Columbia, so I'm not used to this," she said. "It worries me a lot.

Alexia Singleton, who has lived in the apartment complex for two years said she, too, was considering a move.

"It's kind of scary out here," she said. "It has been getting worse. I'd prefer to live somewhere else."

For some residents, Friday's homicide rekindled interest in the still-unsolved double homicide in November 1999.

In that case, Johnathan R. Barney, 19, and Davon L. Mayfield, 18, were shot on a footpath in the 5700 block of Stevens Forest Road just before 4:30 p.m. Nov. 29, 1999.

The daytime shooting was especially worrisome to Oakland Mills residents, who met several times with police to discuss the area's safety.

Police have said that they have solid leads in that case, but they have not arrested anyone in connection with the crime. "I'm confident I know who did it, and we're still in the process of building a case," Howard County police Detective Nathan Rettig said last year.

Howard County police Chief Wayne Livesay met with about 120 Oakland Mills residents last spring to discuss crime. At the meeting, he said the crime rate has held steady in the village of about 9,700 residents over the past few years.

Singleton said residents met in the apartment complex's police substation last night to discuss Wallace's killing.

Police would not say whether they have any suspects in the case.

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