Shooting in Howard may have stemmed from dispute

Incident in Columbia leaves two men injured

September 02, 2004|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Howard County police said yesterday that the two people who were shot Tuesday night in the Harper's Choice village of Columbia may have been involved in a continuing dispute with each other.

Sherry Llewellyn, a police spokeswoman, said the department would only release the ages of the men involved - a 17-year-old and 22-year-old. Details about the dispute, the weapons involved and who instigated the shooting could not be answered because the incident is under investigation, according to Llewellyn.

Police believe no one else was involved in the shooting.

The shooting - which was reported at 10:14 p.m. - occurred by the playground area between buildings at the Harpers Forest Apartments in the 6100 block of Turnabout Lane.

One of the men who was shot was Hispanic, and the other was African-American, police said. Many of the apartments in the area are occupied by Hispanic and African-American families, according to residents.

Police and Fire Department medics responded to the scene and found one man near the playground.

The other man was found nearby a short time later, in the 11000 block of Berrypick Way, police said.

Residents interviewed yesterday - who declined to give their names out of fear for their safety - said they heard at least one gunshot and saw a man lying on the ground by the playground, screaming and bleeding.

Both men sustained nonlife-threatening injuries in their lower body and were flown by state police MedEvac helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Donald G. Ault, a member of the Harper's Choice village board, said that gun violence is "very atypical" in the community. He said that the Police Department a few years ago stationed an officer at the village center to deter crime and that there has been more of a police presence in the area recently.

"A double shooting is very abnormal for Harper's Choice, let alone Columbia," Ault said.

According to past news reports, the last major incident of gun violence in the 6100 block of Turnabout Lane occurred on New Year's Day in 1999, when two pizza delivery workers were robbed of $40. One of the workers was shot in the head, but survived. Two men were arrested, convicted, and remain in prison.

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