A police detective who investigated the May shootings at Randallstown High School testified yesterday that at least three of the four injured students likely were shot by a heavyset man rather than by the Randallstown student who is on trial this week for the shootings.
Although two witnesses have told jurors that they saw Matthew Timothy McCullough, 17, firing a gun at a crowd of students as a charity basketball game was letting out May 7, no one has testified that his shots hit anyone. McCullough is charged with attempted first-degree murder.
In nearly four hours of testimony in Baltimore County Circuit Court - much of it during heated questioning by defense attorney Timothy M. Dixon - Baltimore County Police Det. Craig Schrott said two of the victims told him a heavyset man shot each of them in the shoulder.
Tyrone Devon "Fat Boy" Brown, who weighed 370 pounds, admitted firing a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun at students outside the school that day. He pleaded guilty in September to attempted second-degree murder and a handgun charge and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Schrott, reading yesterday in court from reports that he and his partner prepared after interviewing the four victims, quoted shooting victim Alexander Brown as telling police that he "felt the gunshot wound on his left shoulder and observed the fat guy shooting."
The detective quoted victim Andre Mellerson as telling police that he ran up to a black BMW parked on the school lot and "that's when he was shot. The shooter was the big man with a big belly."
Another victim, Marcus McLain, told police that he saw the heavyset man shoot his friend and football teammate, William "Tippa" Thomas III, who was the most seriously injured with bullet wounds to his neck, back and lung.
And Mellerson told police that when he stumbled into the school, bleeding from the shoulder after being shot by the heavyset man, he saw McLain lying on the floor and bleeding from the leg, Schrott testified.
Because witnesses have told jurors that the heavyset man fired several shots before handing the gun to McCullough, the sequence of events suggests that all four Randallstown students were injured by the first shooter, who witnesses testified was the heavyset man.
Brown, 24, is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 370 pounds, Schrott testified. McCullough is nearly as tall - 5 feet 9 inches - but weighed only 131 pounds, the detective said. Neither of the other suspects - Antonio Richard Jackson, 21, or Ronald Patrick Johnson Jr., 20 - weighed more than 190 pounds, Schrott testified.
Jackson, who is accused of bringing the Glock pistol to the school, handing it to the first shooter and driving the black BMW in which three of the suspects fled, was scheduled to be tried alongside McCullough. Jackson's trial was postponed, however, after authorities were unable to locate Johnson, who had been charged in the shooting but was released after investigators determined he was not involved.
Prosecutors have characterized Johnson as "an essential witness" in Jackson's trial.
Dixon, McCullough's attorney, focused yesterday on the source of the bullets that hit the four students.
He also has questioned witnesses about the possibility that others might have been involved in the shooting - asking, for example, whether McCullough's older brother, Michael, was seen at Randallstown that day.
Prosecutors called Michael Marcel McCullough, 20, to the witness stand Wednesday. Told by attorney James L. Rhodes that Michael McCullough would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, prosecutor Stephen Bailey simply asked the man to state his name and to stand before the jury, facing forward and to both sides.
Sitting through the entire trial - yesterday was the fourth day of testimony - has been 18-year-old Thomas, who was left paralyzed from the stomach down by the school shootings, and much of his family. His injuries were so severe at the time of the shooting that homicide detectives - including Schrott - were called into the investigation.
Hearing those details in court, Peggie Henderson, Thomas' mother, closed her eyes and hung her head.
The trial is scheduled to resume today.