Morgan student held in shooting

Incident first reported to police as an assault now seen as accident

November 04, 2006|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,sun reporter

Late Halloween night, something terrifying happened on East Cold Spring Lane: A freshman at Morgan State University was shot in the groin.

The victim, Dasheem Washington, 19, of Brooklyn, N.Y., initially told police he was taking the trash out from an off-campus home around 3:30 a.m. when he heard a `pop' and realized he'd been hit with a bullet. He said that he saw a man riding a bicycle away from the scene -- suggesting the shooting was random.

The gunshot wound was real, but police believe the story was not.

Yesterday, police said Washington was accidentally shot by his friend at the house -- a fellow student who they said was firing bullets in the air as a "celebratory" Halloween gesture.

"You hope for more in a situation like that -- for more responsibility," said Jarrett Carter, a spokesman for the university. "Morgan [State University] would like for these things not to happen with its students. What else can you say? You don't condone this."

Baltimore police arrested Michael Hinkle, 20, of Landover on Thursday, charging him with first- and second-degree assault, two handgun violations and interfering with an investigation. His public defender said he is a sophomore at Morgan, studying political science.

At a court hearing at Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Center yesterday, Hinkle appeared with his hands cuffed and his 6-foot-4 frame squeezed into cramped bench space with other prisoners.

During the hearing, his public defender, Charles Paul, said the shooting showed "at best ... a hint of irresponsibility." District Court Judge John R. Hargrove Jr. set bail at $50,000.

In addition to legal proceedings, Hinkle will face a judicial review board at the university, which could result in expulsion, said Carter, the Morgan spokesman. "We're glad that justice has been provided," Carter said. "We hope the students are prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Others might also be brought before the university's judicial board, Carter said.

Nobody appeared to be inside yesterday at the house where the shooting occurred. A candy wrapper on the front lawn was the only visible sign left from Halloween.

Neighbors said there are often loud parties at the house, and they've complained numerous times to the police. Although the home is two blocks from campus, neighbors said that few students live on the block.

Baltimore police said they received a 911 call for a shooting at the home on the corner of Cold Spring Lane and Loch Raven Boulevard at 3:41 a.m. Wednesday.

When they got to the address, they found Washington on his back on the back porch, bleeding from single gunshot wound to his groin. Paramedics took Washington to an area hospital, where he was treated and released.

At least four other people were at the house when police arrived, including Hinkle and a man named Robel Bing. Bing and Hinkle initially said they all were inside when they heard a single gunshot and saw nothing, police said.

Later in the day, police learned that Bing lives in the house and keeps a .38-caliber handgun in a drawer. While being questioned by police, Bing revealed that he retrieved the weapon so his friend, Hinkle, could use it for "Halloween celebratory gunfire," according to police spokeswoman Nicole Monroe.

Bing said he gave the gun to Hinkle, walked away, and then heard the gunshot, police said. Bing then "went back and saw Washington laying on the ground, [he was] asking for someone to call 911," Monroe said.

Detectives reinterviewed Hinkle later that day. He admitted to accidentally shooting his friend with the handgun, Monroe said. Police said they searched the house and found the gun in Bing's dresser.

Others involved in the incident might be charged, Monroe said.

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