Teen suspect surrenders in school attack

Randallstown student, 17, hands self in to police

two others still sought

One victim remains critical

School officials prepare to resume classes on normal schedule today

May 10, 2004|By Andrew A. Green and Laura Cadiz | Andrew A. Green and Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

A second suspect in Friday's shootings outside Randallstown High School surrendered to police yesterday, but two others remained at large as school officials prepared for the resumption of classes this morning.

Matthew McCullough, 17, a student at the school, surrendered to police at the Baltimore County Detention Center at 8:45 a.m. yesterday. He was charged as an adult with four counts of attempted first-degree murder.

McCullough, of the 3900 block of Whispering Meadow Road in Randallstown, was accompanied by an attorney and made no statement, county police spokesman Bill Toohey said.

McCullough was denied bail in District Court in Towson and was held at the detention center. He and another suspect, Ronald P. Johnson, 20, are scheduled for bail review hearings in Baltimore County District Court this morning.

Johnson was arrested Friday night at a T-shirt store in Pikesville and was charged with four counts of attempted murder. According to District Court records, Johnson was charged last year with marijuana possession but was not prosecuted.

Two of the four victims remained at Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday. William Thomas - who was the most seriously injured, shot in the neck, back and lung - was in critical condition.

Thomas' cousin, Jemuel Godwin, 23, said yesterday afternoon that the 17-year-old Thomas was still on a respirator. The family was awaiting a second surgery to determine whether he can walk again, Godwin said.

The cousin said he was able to spend about 10 minutes with Thomas on Saturday. He was conscious and able to write notes. "You can kind of understand what he wants to say," Godwin said.

Godwin was pleased to hear that McCullough was in custody. "That's good news," he said.

Andre Mellerson, who was shot in the left shoulder, was in fair condition.

Two others - Marcus McLain, 16, and Alex Brown, 17 - were treated at area hospitals and released.

Randallstown students said McCullough had attended the school only a short time and was not well known there.

Residents of the quiet middle-class community of Randallstown were still reeling yesterday from the violence, said Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr., who attended two church services there. He said people were handling the situation courageously, and praying for the victims and those responsible for the bloodshed. But they were concerned that such a crime could occur there, Smith said.

"This was as much of a shock to the Randallstown community as it would be to any community in Baltimore County or, frankly, any community in the country," Smith said. "It is clearly not a place that is accustomed to gunplay. It is an affluent, well-educated, very interested community, and they are concerned that this recklessness and violence may overshadow the high quality of their community."

County schools spokesman Charles A. Herndon said officials plan to open Randallstown High on a normal schedule today. Principal Thomas Evans plans to address students over the school's closed-circuit television system, and school system officials are providing guidance for the staff on how to respond to students' questions.

"We anticipate there will be a lot of questions about what happened on Friday and what will happen from here on out," Herndon said. "As best as we are able to anticipate what the needs of the students and staff and community will be, we're, I think, poised at this point to try to at least be available to meet some of the needs and answer some of the questions."

Charging documents released yesterday provided new details about the gunfire and a fistfight that preceded it.

Police were continuing last night to search for two suspects - one they identified by the nickname "Fat Boy" and another identified in charging documents only as "Tony," Toohey said.

Police said they believe the incident stemmed from an argument over a girl, and according to charging documents, McCullough was one of the key instigators. Police also believe the four people who were shot had nothing to do with the initial dispute.

According to the documents, Johnson told police that McCullough was having trouble with a boy at school. While Johnson drove McCullough's gold Honda Civic to the school Friday with McCullough and "Fat Boy," McCullough said he was "going to get" that person, the documents state.

At the school, the three were joined by the boy identified in the documents as "Tony."

McCullough's argument with another boy escalated into a fight, according to the documents.

"Fat Boy" then went to Tony's vehicle and retrieved a semiautomatic handgun, and Johnson saw him fire the gun over the top of a black BMW into the crowd, the documents state.

Witnesses also saw McCullough fire the gun, according to the documents.

Police have not recovered the weapon, Toohey said.

After the shooting stopped, Johnson and "Fat Boy" got into the back of the BMW, and "Tony" drove away from the scene, according to the documents. Johnson told police he saw McCullough run toward Offutt Road.

Toohey said that an award of up to $2,000 is available for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those involved. To provide information, call: 866-7-LOCKUP (866-756-2587).

Sun staff writer Liz F. Kay contributed to this article.

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