Suspect found to be a victim

wounded boy now a suspect

Police say 11-year-old shot during carjacking bid

April 14, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

East Baltimore residents applauded in the street Monday night as an off-duty state trooper took a suspect into custody just seconds after an 11-year-old boy had been shot.

A day later, it turns out that the suspect had been the victim of an attempted carjacking, police said, and the 11-year-old was one of a group of boys who tried to take the man's cash and car.

By yesterday morning, the only part of the initial police account that hadn't been turned upside down is the role of Tfc. Jeff Green, a 17-year veteran of the Maryland State Police.

"He's still a hero," said Agent Donny Moses, a city police spokesman. "He did a great job."

The shooting occurred about 9 p.m. Monday, moments after Green and his daughter left a house in the 1500 block of N. Caroline St. As the trooper and his daughter were getting into his cruiser, intending to see the movie Johnson Family Vacation, they heard a gunshot about 100 feet away on Oliver Street.

A woman cried out, "Oh, my God, they shot him," Green said during an interview at his East Baltimore home yesterday.

The trooper sent his daughter -- whose age he declined to reveal -- back into the house, radioed to his barracks in Essex, flipped on his flashing lights, turned east onto Oliver Street from Caroline Street and stopped at the scene, he said.

As he started driving, he saw three teen-agers standing over the shooting victim and a man starting to drive away in a 2000 Infiniti, he said.

When they saw his lights, the juveniles ran, and the man jumped from his car and walked toward him, exclaiming, "Let me explain. Let me explain."

Green handcuffed the man to a round of applause from neighborhood residents, who apparently thought the man had shot the juvenile.

The trooper said he had the man lie face down in the street next to his cruiser and turned his attention to helping the victim.

The boy was face down, his right cheek pressed against the wet pavement. He didn't move, but he continually said, "I've been shot," according to Green.

As Green detained the man, about 10 nearby residents rushed to the boy's aid. Two brought white blankets, Green said. The Rev. James McLinden of nearby St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church anointed the boy with holy oils, parishioners said yesterday.

Before Green could slip on his protective gloves and begin tending to the boy, city police and an ambulance arrived at the scene, he said.

Police officials told the news media that a boy had been shot, Green had cared for the boy and that the 43-year-old trooper had caught a man who was likely involved in the attack. It appeared to be simple.

But everything began to change when police questioned the man. With his story, and subsequent questioning of the 11-year-old, a new account emerged.

Police determined that on Monday night the Infiniti driver was hacking -- providing illegal cab rides for money -- and picked up the four juveniles, said Sgt. Darryl Massey, a city police detective. When he dropped the boys on Oliver Street, they refused to pay.

The driver got out of his car, and one of the boys pointed a gun at him, demanding the driver's keys and his money, Massey said. The driver then pushed the boy with the gun, the boy fired and the bullet hit the 11-year-old in the back.

The boy remained in stable condition yesterday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Moses said. Police were looking for the other three juveniles, who are believed to be teen-agers.

Green, who deflected any praise of his actions, learned yesterday that the initial suspect had been deemed a victim, and that the gunshot victim was now a suspect.

He wasn't surprised, he said.

"We live in a society with all types of individuals," Green said. "Those who decide to be the perpetrators are mixed with the victims."

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