2 adults, girl shot outside complex

Car they were sitting in is riddled with bullets

Early-morning Pikesville incident

Witnesses see victims run as masked man fires gun

December 27, 2003|By Stephanie Hanes and Jonathan D. Rockoff | Stephanie Hanes and Jonathan D. Rockoff,SUN STAFF

Two women and a 3-year-old girl were shot at close range outside a Pikesville apartment complex yesterday morning by a masked gunman who riddled the car they were sitting in with bullets, Baltimore County police said.

A second child sitting in the back of the Honda Accord was unharmed in the shooting, which took place at 7:15 a.m. in the 4400 block of Old Court Road, police said.

Most seriously hurt was Margia J. Evans, 26, the front-seat passenger and mother of the two children, who was in critical condition last night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Kwanza L. Shields, 23, the driver, and Tajia Pheia Lewis, the wounded girl, were taken to Sinai Hospital. Shields was being treated in the emergency room, and Lewis was in the pediatric intensive care unit, a spokeswoman said.

The women lived with the two children on the third floor of one of the garden apartment buildings, neighbors said.

The women and children were sitting in the car, waiting for it to warm up, when the shooting took place, police said. The vehicle was parked in a lot at the Owings Chase Apartments, a brick apartment complex near the Old Court Road Metro station. At least nine bullet holes could be seen in the car.

Three witnesses, who asked not be identified for fear of retaliation, said that the shooter emerged from behind a trash container across the parking lot from the car.

When he started shooting, they said, the driver and Medrich Lamont Johnson, 8, got out of the car and ran back to their apartment building. The other woman, the mother of both children in the car, stayed behind to remove her daughter from a car seat.

While the mother bent over her daughter, the gunman kept firing, witnesses said. They said the man continued shooting after the woman tried to whisk the girl away. When they saw the girl later, it appeared she had been shot in the abdomen, they said.

Officer Shawn Vinson, a police spokesman, said the gunman was "very close" to the car at the time of the shooting. He said police did not know of a motive and had not recovered a weapon.

Bill Toohey, another police spokesman, said investigators believe at least one of the women knew the gunman.

An apartment complex resident, who declined to give her name because the shooter remained at large, said she heard one of the victims say, "Why you doing this to me?" followed by more gunshots.

The shooter was last seen running west in the parking lot.

Neighbors said the women and children ran into the apartment building and started knocking on doors, staining them with blood.

The children's mother passed out in the hallway, they said. When one of the neighbors opened the door, the second woman fell through.

"The girl may have died if she hadn't opened the door," said a neighbor who called 911.

Tenants who gathered in an adjacent building yesterday morning said they were shocked at the violence.

"This has always been a quiet area," said one. "No one even knows we're back here. It's crazy."

While there was a suspicious fire in the area this year, shootings there are rare, Toohey said.

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