`He was the first and closest target'

Man shot in Owings Mills theater

suspect charged with murder

June 17, 2006|By NICK SHIELDS AND JOSH MITCHELL | NICK SHIELDS AND JOSH MITCHELL,SUN REPORTERS

Paul Schrum wanted to see X-Men: The Last Stand, but his wife wasn't interested in the film. So on Thursday evening- which is her night for mah-jongg with friends - he hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, and headed off to a multiplex up the road in Owings Mills.

When hours passed without his return, Rona Schrum went looking for her husband. It was after 1 in the morning when she pulled into the movie theater parking lot and saw his car - and many police officers.

In what police described as a random attack, Paul Schrum, a 62-year-old medical supplies salesman from Pikesville, was shot dead while watching a movie at Loews Valley Center 9 in Owings Mills. About 20 minutes into the film, police said, the gunman stood, told everyone to get on the floor and fired four shots.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions misidentified William L. Jews, who is the current chief executive of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.
The Sun regrets the error.

The man then walked to the lobby, placed a handgun containing one unspent round on a counter and told theater management that he had shot someone. He waited for police to arrive.

Yesterday, as friends tried to comfort her, Rona Schrum said, "I will probably never understand why God has chosen to do that to me."

The suspect is a 24-year-old man, a 2000 graduate of Mount Hebron High School in Howard County and a 2005 graduate of Loyola College, where he majored in biology. Mujtaba Rabbani Jabbar's family home is a house valued at more than $1 million in one of Baltimore County's most affluent neighborhoods.

According to charging documents, Jabbar told police that he had planned to kill someone for several months.

He has been charged with first-degree murder. He was being held without bail at the county detention center. A search of court records showed nothing more than traffic violations for Jabbar.

Jabbar's address is in Anton North, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Baltimore County, with million-dollar mansions hidden by trees and at the end of long, twisting driveways. A list of residents includes such Baltimore business names as Frankel and Luskin, and former Blue Cross/Blue Shield Chief Executive William L. Jews.

Neighbors said they believe the Jabbar family is originally from Texas and owns at least one gas station in the area. They say the family moved into the neighborhood about a year and a half ago, shortly after the house was built.

The house - just under 8,000 square feet, according to tax records - has a circular driveway, wooden double doors, large vertical windows and, in the back, a section that appears to house an indoor pool. The home is valued at $1.6 million.

Through a speaker next to the front door, a woman declined to speak to a reporter yesterday, saying, "I'm sorry. We can't talk right now."

Sandy Gordon, who lives across the street, said few people in the neighborhood know the family.

She said that some residents on the street became agitated after months went by with no curtains being installed in the home's windows.

"It was very bothersome that they had no window shades," she said, adding that an ironing board could often be seen through a front window. The family put up shades in the windows after a neighbor eventually confronted them, Gordon said.

She said she was distraught at the news of Thursday's shooting.

"What has happened in this world?" Gordon said. "I feel old now."

Several years ago, the Movies at Harbor Park complex in Baltimore was the site of two shootings in two months, including one that sent moviegoers running for the street. The theater beefed up security, but closed in 2000.

The shooting at the Owings Mills theater was, in the words of county police spokeswoman Sgt. Vickie Warehime, "completely random."

It took place in a detached brick building just off Reisterstown Road - beyond a Sam's Club and a Wal-Mart. Theater management declined to comment.

Warehime, the police spokeswoman, said the suspect did not know any of the people in the theater. There were fewer than 10 in the audience for the 8 p.m. show in theater No. 8, she said. Schrum was sitting just a few seats away from the gunman.

"He was the first and closest target," Warehime said.

The spokeswoman said Schrum was shot three times in the upper body. A fourth bullet was found in a wall. The .357-caliber handgun believed to have been used is capable of firing five shots. The last bullet was in the gun, police said.

Yesterday afternoon, Rona Schrum sat at her dinning room table in her Pikesville home eating a bagel - the first time she'd been able to eat since she found out her husband had been killed. Loved ones answered her telephone and front door.

Paul Schrum graduated from Baltimore City College in 1962, and the two married about five years later, she said. He was a father of two, a grandfather of two, and most recently worked as a medical salesman for University Pipette Services.

She said her husband - known as Terry to people who grew up with him - loved history and sports and was a fifth-degree black belt in karate.

"He was small and lightning-fast," she said.

She said he was a science fiction fan and had seen the first two installments in the cinematic X-Men series.

She said her husband chose to see the movie Thursday night because it played around the same time that she gathered with friends to play mah-jongg.

She returned home shortly before 11:30 p.m. to find her husband's car missing. Around 1:30 a.m. she drove to the theater. She spotted her husband's Chevrolet Malibu, parked beside it and approached a police officer.

"This is my husband's car. He went to the movies and never came home," she says she told the officer.

The reply, she said, was: "You must be Mrs. Schrum."

nicholas.shields@baltsun.com

josh.mitchell@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Laura Barnhardt and Larry Carson contributed to this article.

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