Digital Harbor violence brings increased patrols

October 11, 2006|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,sun reporter

Baltimore city and school police say they will be stepping up patrols around Digital Harbor High School in Federal Hill after two violent incidents in less than a week.

Both incidents occurred off school property and after school hours.

City schools police were dispatched to quell the latest incident, which occurred about 4:10 p.m. Monday. About 100 Digital Harbor students became disorderly as two 15-year-old girls fought each other at East Cross and Light streets, said Antonio Williams, chief of the city schools police. During the fight, Williams said, students smashed the windshield of a car parked near the intersection.

One of the two girls, who are students at the school, was treated and released from an area hospital for injuries to her face, Williams said. Both girls were charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

Six days earlier, on Oct. 3, city police responded to a report about a beating that occurred less than a half-mile from Digital Harbor, which is at 1100 Covington St.

City police spokesman Donny Moses said police arrived eight minutes after receiving a report of two males assaulting an older male about 4:37 p.m. at the intersection of Cross and William streets. Moses said police did not find the victim once they got there.

"We didn't get a call for a crowd," Moses said. "We just got a call for a common assault."

But a man who said he witnessed the beating said it took police 45 minutes to respond to numerous 911 calls. The man, who declined to give his name for fear of retribution from the students, said the victim is 73 years old and suffered a broken jaw and rib injuries. The man, who works in Federal Hill, videotaped Monday's melee and showed the tape to school police and provided it to a TV station. He said the area has been beset by other incidents involving unruly students after school is dismissed.

"They're screaming at me, `You'll get yours,'" he said about the video. "I have pictures of them screaming and [making an obscene gesture]. This is the middle of Federal Hill."

The man said residents have not complained about incidents because they're concerned about real estate values.

"They don't want people knowing this when they're buying $600,000 rowhouses," he said.

Digital Harbor High is on the site of the former Southern High School in a new, $42 million building. A magnet school, it has no admissions criteria, and it enrolls students from around the city.

Sun reporter Nicole Fuller contributed to this article.

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