Football star shot holding up store

Dundalk High player is killed by clerk in liquor outlet

March 14, 2002|By Dennis O'Brien and Stephanie Desmon | Dennis O'Brien and Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF

A 17-year-old college-bound football star at Dundalk High School was shot and killed yesterday morning when he tried to hold up a liquor store a few blocks from the school.

Derrick Lemell Breedlove, a senior who planned to attend a Virginia university on a football scholarship next fall, was killed inside Modern Discount Liquors in the 6900 block of Holabird Ave.

Baltimore County police said he entered the store armed with a pellet gun and was shot by a clerk after taking a bag of cash.

Police said they were questioning another Dundalk student last night who might have been waiting outside the store in a getaway car. Police found the vehicle in the parking lot at Dundalk High and towed it away as part of the investigation.

No charges have been filed against the clerk, said Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a police spokeswoman, who noted that the store had been held up at gunpoint twice last month.

"We're looking at the possibility that this robbery might be connected to the two other robberies," she said.

At Dundalk High, Breedlove was known as a bright kid with a bright future.

"When I got the call, I thought it must be a mistake, it has to be a mistake," said Kim Stephanic, the school's principal. "Derrick was supposed to be in his first-period class and instead he was robbing a liquor store. I can't understand it. ...

"I'm devastated. Derrick was a kid with a promising future. Of course, I could never defend his choice and, to be quite honest, I can't explain it."

Warehime said that Breedlove walked into the store shortly after 9 a.m., displayed the pellet gun and demanded money from a clerk behind the counter. A second clerk, Richard Kosinski, 50, who lives near the store, was in a back room and witnessed the robbery, she said.

Kosinski retrieved a handgun, walked out a side door and re-entered through the front door, Warehime said. He confronted Breedlove and shot him twice in the upper body.

Breedlove was a 6-foot 2-inch, 251-pound tight end and defensive end for Dundalk High and had planned to attend Hampton University, in Hampton, Va., on a football scholarship next fall.

A woman at Breedlove's home who identified herself as an aunt said yesterday that the family was in shock and is convinced that he was "hanging with the wrong crowd."

Dundalk High senior Steve Nadeau, who played right tackle next to Breedlove, said he believed his friend's talent and brains would have taken him somewhere.

"He was good in school and great in sports," Nadeau recalled yesterday. "When we were in 10th grade, he had colleges looking at him. I was, like, he's going to be the real deal."

Nadeau said he is sure Breedlove "wouldn't have harmed a soul."

But Nadeau said he worried about his classmate, who came from a family with very little money.

"We're not a bunch of Dulaney [High School] kids. We don't have the rich kids. We don't have a lot of money," Nadeau said. "When you struggle like that ... anybody would break."

Breedlove had worked at the McDonald's in the 2200 block of Dundalk Ave., but quit about a month ago, saying that he had found a better job, according to a worker at the restaurant.

Warehime said the results of the police investigation will be turned over to Baltimore County State's Attorney Sandra A. O'Connor for review.

Breedlove, who was pronounced dead at the scene, did not fire any shots, Warehime said.

She also said that when he was shot, Breedlove was holding a bag of stolen money and a pellet gun that bore a "striking resemblance" to an automatic handgun.

"If you looked at that gun, there's no way you could tell the gun was not a semiautomatic until you held it and disassembled it," she said.

Police say Modern Discount Liquors clerks had reported armed robberies at the store Feb. 5 and Feb. 22. Neighbors said those robberies had put the working-class community on edge in recent weeks.

"It had everybody worried. It's not the kind of thing that happens that often around here," said Jim Clarke, who runs the Express Shoe Repair shop next to the store.

Sonny Brown, the owner of the liquor store, did not return phone calls last night.

But Clarke said that after the store was held up at gunpoint Feb. 22, the clerk who was on duty quit out of fear that there would be another robbery.

Neighbors expressed concern yesterday about what they see as an increase in crime in the community.

George Yeager, who lives near the store, said his home was burglarized about a year ago and he purchased two guns for protection recently because of a rash of break-ins at neighborhood shops and homes. "It seems like everybody around here's been robbed at least once," Yeager said.

Sun staff writer Linda Linley contributed to this article.

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