Unlikely victims eager to achieve their goals

Vision: Boys have dreams of college, prom and sports.

Randallstown School Shooting

May 08, 2004|By Tanika White | Tanika White,SUN STAFF

They were unlikely victims, friends and family members said.

They each had different dreams, but the four boys wounded in yesterday's Randallstown High School shooting were on their way to achieving their goals.

Junior Marcus McLain, quarterback of the Rams' winning varsity football team, dreams of going to college and seeing his name on the NFL's starting roster.

Alexander Brown, 17 and a senior, has a similar vision. His is of free throws and swooshing three-point shots, friends said.

He hopes to walk on to the basketball team at Hampton University after graduation next month.

William Thomas - called "Tippa" by those who know him well - is reserved, affectionate and mannerly.

A senior on the Randallstown football team, he has been accepted to Morgan State University on an engineering scholarship.

And Andre Mellerson loves to make people - especially the ladies - laugh.

Disbelief

Friends and family members were in disbelief yesterday that the four athletic, ambitious young men had been caught up in such violence.

"I was saying to myself, `It wasn't him. It wasn't him,'" said Brown's cousin Emanuel Capers. "But it was him."

McLain seemed to live and breathe football. His father coaches a Pop Warner team.

Off the football field, friends said, McLain is a typical teen-ager who likes shopping at the mall and talking to girls.

"He just wanted to get out of high school, go to college, play football, get to the NFL. That's his dream," said sophomore Brandon Ortiz, 15.

Mellerson - good-looking and fashionable - wasn't the type to be involved in anything negative, friends said.

"He's a ladies' man," said freshman Latea Bell, 15.

"He don't start no trouble. He likes to keep his mouth shut."

`Will to live'

Thomas, the most seriously wounded, had only recently moved to the area from Georgia to live with his aunt and guardian, Ann R. Godwin of Pikesville.

Already, he has shown himself to be a good student, Godwin said, and a talented football player.

Thomas was looking forward to going to the senior prom next week, Godwin said, and had rented a tuxedo.

And he was eagerly awaiting graduation.

After graduation, Thomas plans to play football at Morgan State, his aunt said.

"He is young and strong and has a will to live," Godwin said.

Thomas was unconscious last night, she said.

At Maryland Shock Trauma, where Thomas and two of the other three boys were taken after the shooting, a crowd of distraught and anxious relatives, teachers, coaches and friends gathered to await some news of the students' conditions.

Inside the hospital, they paced the floor, waiting and hoping.

"We're all family," said Kenneth Hannah Jr., 17. "We're with them the whole way."

Sun staff writers Sara Neufeld, Jonathan D. Rockoff and Jamie Stiehm contributed to this article.

Recent violence in Maryland schools

April 1, 2004: A brawl breaks out at Woodlawn High School during an anger management session. Two people were arrested and 11 students were suspended.

Feb. 4, 2004: A 15-year-old student is stabbed in the leg with a pocket knife on a school bus while arguing with another student in Frederick.

Jan. 16, 2004: Four Suitland High School students are shot at a Metro bus stop after an assailant - who robbed some of the students - fired into a crowd.

Jan. 8, 2004: A teen-age boy is arrested for allegedly shooting at a school bus filled with children in Huntington.

Dec. 17, 2003: A gunshot in a hallway prompts officials to lock down an Anne Arundel County high school for two hours. Police later recover a .38-caliber revolver hidden in a men's bathroom.

Oct. 23, 2003: The body of a man, who had been shot multiple times, is found in the parking lot of a Landover elementary school, forcing officials to close the school for the day.

Oct. 22, 2003: Five Hammond High School boys are arrested for reportedly being involved in a plot to buy a loaded handgun that was found inside a campus locker.

Oct. 16, 2003: A Charles Carroll Middle School pupil suffers a punctured lung after being stabbed in a gang-related fight in Prince George's County; a 13-year-old is arrested.

Sept. 17, 2003: An eighth-grade boy fires a single shot from a .44-caliber gun in an empty school bathroom in Eldersburg in what officials ruled was a suicide attempt.

Sept. 3, 2003: A former Glen Burnie High School student is arrested after allegedly stabbing a 13-year-old student once in the lower abdomen, on school grounds.

Source: Data compiled by National School Safety and Security Services

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