Randallstown boy, 4, dies of gunshot wound to head

Child found in living room

shooting stuns neighbors

April 27, 2004|By Lane Harvey Brown, Rona Kobell and Laurie Willis | Lane Harvey Brown, Rona Kobell and Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A 4-year-old boy died after being shot in the head yesterday evening, stunning the quiet Randallstown neighborhood where his family lives.

Miles Patrick Smith Jr. was pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital's pediatric intensive care unit after police and paramedics were called to the home in the 3900 block of Bryony Road, Baltimore County police said.

Police were trying last night to sort out the circumstances surrounding the shooting. It was not immediately clear who was home at the time or who owned the handgun, said police spokesman Bill Toohey.

"It's really quite early. There are a lot of questions to be answered. And they may not get answered quickly," Toohey said last night outside the two-story brick house. "All they know is the child was shot and there was a gun. We don't even have a good fix yet on how many shots were fired."

The little boy, who was found shot in the living room, lived with his mother, Nicole Wright-Smith, 34, and father, Miles Patrick Smith, 36, police said. Neighbors say he had an older brother and sister who also lived there.

The shooting saddened neighbors in the community of mostly colonial and ranch homes, where they talked of a jovial boy who loved to ride his bike and joke around with the older children. He was outside almost every day, playing with the neighbors.

"Four years old. I don't get it," said Kenneth Stanton, 16, as he shook his head sadly. Stanton, a friend of Miles' brother, said he was taking a nap after school when he heard his mother run down the stairs shouting, "Something's going on."

Outside, emergency vehicles filled the street, and neighbors stood outside to see what happened.

Asked whether the siblings mentioned anything about a gun in the house, Stanton said: "I never heard of it - from any of them. Never."

Stanton went outside to find his friend, Chris Kinlaw, 18, who had just learned of the shooting.

"I didn't even believe it when I heard it," Kinlaw said. "First, my heart just pounded real hard, and I felt a teardrop fall from my eye, and I had to hug my friend Kenneth."

Neighbor Thomas Huntley, an adult who has lived in the area for three years, said he couldn't believe what he was seeing when he returned home from work. A television helicopter hovered overhead, and inside his home he saw a reporter on television talking against a backdrop of the neighborhood.

"I came in and saw an ambulance. A firetruck was here. I caught the tail end of what he was saying," Huntley said.

Felicia Hurley, 22, who has lived on Bryony Road all her life, said she was frightened when she pulled into her street yesterday evening. Her first thought when she saw the sirens and yellow police tape was that something might have happened to one of her sisters. She quickly learned it was young Miles.

Miles' siblings were standing outside in the cool damp air and not wearing coats when Hurley got home. She and her sisters gave them soda, candy and pretzels to help calm them down.

"I don't know if the police officers didn't let them go in, but the kids didn't have on any coats, and the little girl didn't have on any shoes," Hurley said. "One of their relatives arrived and was able to retrieve their coats from the house, but before the relative arrived, we gave the young girl some socks and slippers."

Hurley said Bryony Road residents would probably get together today to decide how they might assist the family.

"We will definitely take food over to them," she said. "And there may be something else planned."

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