Running for cover on N. Rose St.

Police say boy, 4, shot in buttock, probably wasn't shooter's target

August 18, 2006|By LYNN ANDERSON | LYNN ANDERSON,SUN REPORTER

Shantrese Sanders didn't know the 4-year-old boy who was sitting in front of her North Rose Street home, but when a gunman fired nearly a dozen shots down the narrow passageway, the teenager said she hurried to get the child and others to safety.

"I told the little boy to come inside, but he wouldn't get up," said Sanders, 17, who, along with a teenage cousin, watches about a dozen small children.

"He wouldn't move."

Sanders dragged him through her front door.

Once inside, she noticed blood trickling down the boy's leg. He was whimpering and had a bullet-sized hole in his shorts. She said she did not have time to inspect the wound.

"I don't know who that little boy was," Sanders said a day after the shooting, which occurred Wednesday about 5:30 p.m. in the 700 block of N. Rose St.

The boy was shot in the left buttock and was scheduled to be released from Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday, said Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman. Witnesses told police they saw a man with shoulder-length dreadlocks fire shots into a crowd of adults and children.

Baltimore police had made no arrests as of yesterday and would not identify the 4-year-old, saying he was a witness to a serious crime. Police said a 26-year-old man who also was wounded in the shooting may have been the target. He was struck in the lower back and is being treated at Johns Hopkins, Monroe said.

But it was the boy -- who police say was visiting friends on the block with his mother -- whom neighbors were talking about yesterday.

"He wasn't really crying," said Walisa Lawrence, 18, who was baby-sitting cousins with Sanders. "It was like he was in shock."

"He was watching another kid fix a bike," said John Saffell, 71, a retired bricklayer and one of the few remaining homeowners on the block. Most other residents said they are renters. A number of rowhouses on the block are vacant.

None of the residents who spoke with The Sun knew the boy's name.

Sanders said the child's mother came looking for him a few minutes after shots rang out. By then, a man had grabbed the wounded child to take him to get help.

"She kept asking me, `Was that my child?'" Sanders said of the mother, who later found her son.

Saffell said he watched as she rocked the injured child in her arms. "She sat and cradled the boy," he said.

A helicopter news crew later captured video of a paramedic rushing the boy up the narrow street to a waiting ambulance.

Rose Street residents said the street has become a haunt for drug dealers, and that it can be unsafe to linger outdoors.

Saffell said that there have been at least two shootings on the block in recent years. He said a young man was killed in front of his house and another man was injured.

"I gotta get out of this neighborhood," he said, minutes before his daughter came to take him to her home in Baltimore County.

Coriless Jones, 48, who works for the Rose Street Community Center, a nonprofit group that is trying to help residents, said that crime in the neighborhood is getting worse.

"It's bad around here," she said. "The drugs are bad, the shooting is getting terrible. It gets worse every year."

lynn.anderson@baltsun.com

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