19-year-old gets medal for assisting Secret Service agent shot at mall

A `phenomenal' Mid is honored

January 19, 2007|By Bradley Olson | Bradley Olson,sun reporter

Midshipman Roarke Baldwin was perusing books on the first floor of Border's at Westfield Annapolis mall, waiting for the next showing of the new James Bond flick, when he heard the pops, 13 in all.

Then he heard the screaming, as parents called for their children and hundreds rushed from the food court to nearby exits.

He called his friends and told them not to come to the mall because something was wrong, then, almost in a daze, he says, he sprinted toward the chaos and found a man lying on his back with a gunshot wound to the right thigh.

A 19-year-old Eagle Scout from Florence, Mont., Baldwin applied pressure to the man's wound, finding out later that he was an off-duty Secret Service agent who had been shot while trying to break up a fight in the food court on a bustling Saturday night.

Baldwin's help allowed the agent to maintain control of a wounded suspect, who was later arrested and charged in the shootings.

Yesterday, two months later, Baldwin was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his actions.

"That's the quality of young men and women that represent the U.S. Naval Academy," said the agent, who asked not to be identified because of the nature of his work. "He's a phenomenal young man. The vast majority of people in the mall didn't do anything."

Baldwin, a plebe who wants to be a Navy SEAL or Marine, said he was just looking to lend a hand if he could.

"When I heard the shots and the screaming, it seemed so surreal," he said. "When I ran over to him and saw the blood, I didn't know what would happen, but I'm glad to hear he's OK now."

The shootings at the mall on Nov. 18 were later attributed to a months-long feud between Annapolis High School students and a recent graduate who live in different city public housing neighborhoods.

Javaughn Norman Adams, 18, was at the mall that night about 7:15 p.m. with a friend when Tahzay Brown, 16, confronted the pair. Brown's associates then started a fight with Adams' friend, police said, which the Secret Service agent tried to break up before he was shot in the leg.

The agent fired seven shots from his service revolver, hitting Adams twice in the upper body. On Nov. 23, shortly after the teenager was released from the hospital, he was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder.

Brown, a junior at Annapolis High, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. Police are seeking the person who shot him. Lt. David Waltemeyer, an Anne Arundel County police spokesman, said the department is awaiting the results of ballistics tests.

The agent, his family and Baldwin's father, Jay, were on hand yesterday when Capt. Margaret Klein, the academy's commandant, presented the midshipman with the medal, which recognizes junior officers or enlisted personnel "who distinguish themselves by outstanding professional achievement or leadership," according to an academy statement.

About 150 of his company mates also attended.

.

Jay Baldwin said he caught a red-eye flight from Montana to attend the ceremony.

"His mother and I heard at the same time that this occurred, and while we were shocked he would run into an altercation like that, it only took a second for us to realize that that's the kind of thing we would expect from him," he said. "He's always been a leader, in school and in sports, and this was just an extension of his natural ability to lead."

bradley.olson@baltsun.com

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