Arrest made in multiple shooting

Man with lengthy record is held in wounding of four in East Baltimore

April 15, 2007|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,sun reporter

Police arrested yesterday a man with a lengthy criminal record as a suspect in last week's shooting of three children and a man on the streets of a blighted neighborhood of East Baltimore.

Johnnie Henry Toomer III, whose last known address was in the 2700 block of E. Monument St., was arrested about 6:30 a.m. inside a house in the 500 block of N. Collington Ave., said Officer Troy Harris, a Police Department spokesman.

"He was arrested without incident and taken to Central Booking," Harris said. Police gave Toomer's age as 21, but some court records listed him as being 22.

Harris said police are continuing to investigate and are searching for another possible suspect. He said Toomer has a lengthy arrest record and was on probation when the shooting occurred.

Court records indicate that Toomer, who has been known by the nickname "Smurf," was on probation after pleading guilty to drug possession and distribution charges in February 2006.

He received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation for four years, records show. Toomer was arrested again in June 2006 on drug charges and charges of resisting arrest and assault but was found not guilty in January.

Toomer also was arrested in 1999 and charged with attempted murder, robbery and weapons possession. He was charged as an adult, but the case was waived to the juvenile system in 2000, records show.

Thursday's lunchtime shooting in the 1700 block of N. Bradford St., near the old American Brewery, happened in a neighborhood that has been the scene of street violence.

Police said a green sport utility vehicle drove down the street and stopped near a group hanging out in front of an occupied dwelling and three vacant rowhouses with plywood-covered windows.

Two men jumped out of the vehicle and started shooting, police said, wounding two 15-year-old girls, a 10-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man who was the apparent target.

The children's wounds were not considered life-threatening. Police said they believe the wounded man, who was seriously injured, is the cousin of a witness to a double homicide in the same block in October 2005.

But police also said the shooting might have stemmed from a dispute over a jacket.

Harris said police have been "working day and night on this case" since the shooting.

Referring to Toomer's arrest, he said, "This has been a priority of the department, and we're pleased to have this result."

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