2 arrested in attack on newspaper seller

Police camera filmed rush-hour rumble in West Baltimore

February 03, 2006|By NICOLE FULLER | NICOLE FULLER,SUN REPORTER

A Sun newspaper hawker fought off two attackers in a brazen robbery on a busy city street during yesterday morning's rush hour - a skirmish that was caught on a police video camera.

Police quickly arrested two suspects and recovered about $25 in coins and currency.

The hawker, Marvin Horton, 35, of West Baltimore, suffered minor cuts in the 8 a.m. assault at North and Fulton avenues, about two blocks from his West Baltimore home.

The suspects - a 33-year-old man and 40-year-old woman, described by police as boyfriend and girlfriend - were being held last night at the Central Booking and Intake Center awaiting a hearing before a District Court commissioner on pending charges of robbery, assault and possession of a deadly weapon, authorities said.

The woman is on probation stemming from drug charges in Prince George's County, and her boyfriend is awaiting a felony narcotics trial next month, said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore state's attorney's office. Horton, who identified the attackers to police, was not charged in connection with the fight. But police said he was also detained - on an outstanding warrant on a theft charge. Burns said there was no record last night of Horton's presence at Central Booking.

Horton, known as "Boo," has sold The Sun at locations throughout the city for about five years. He is a contractual worker who is paid according to the number of papers he sells.

"We're glad that Mr. Horton isn't seriously hurt as a result of this attack, and we support our hawkers' rights to lawfully defend themselves," said Timothy J. Thomas, vice president of marketing at The Sun.

Horton was selling papers on the median of Fulton Avenue when two people approached. According to police, the man reached into the neon green smock Horton was wearing.

The two men began to fight, said Maj. Garnell Green, commander of the Western District.

"They approached him to rob him," Green said. "When the paper guy started getting the best of him, that's when [the woman] came over and picked up a bottle. She kicked him and hit him."

The video released by police shows the two men fighting in the center lane of Fulton Avenue, as drivers brake to avoid the melee. A small crowd forms, and while the woman stands nearby, a witness breaks up the fight.

The suspects walked away and were arrested a short time later on nearby Mount Street, police said.

While police called the camera, which has been at that corner only since Jan. 26, a useful law enforcement tool, officers said they'd rather people leave the policing to them. The camera is one of about 30 to be posted along the North Avenue corridor by the end of the month.

"We don't normally recommend that," Green said of the fight. "Just let them go ahead and take what they're gonna take. Get a good description and let us go from there."

In 2000, a 60-year-old hawker, Horace Brown, was shot and killed as he peddled the newspaper at of Howard and Fayette streets.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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