Reports of shootings a hoax

CRIME WATCH

October 10, 2007|By John-John Williams IV

Two 11-year-old Elkridge boys who reported that they were shot by a man with a pellet gun on their way to school last week lied about the attacks, Howard County police said yesterday.

Police said they did not know what prompted the boys to fabricate the story. The boys admitted Monday night that the story was a hoax, police said.

"We're talking about young children who may not grasp the gravity of the situation," said police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn. " ... We are still working to determine what charges - if any - are appropriate."

Police learned of the hoax while interviewing the boys. The first boy, who claimed to have been shot in the eye by a pellet from a gun, was injured during an accident, Llewellyn said.

"It was either a trip, a fall, a stumble, something hit him in the eye," she said. "The second boy told police that he had been struck in the arm, but there were no visible injuries."

The boys claimed the shootings took place Wednesday and Thursday last week, about a half-mile from Mayfield Woods Middle School, which they both attend. They said they were shot by a thin man wearing a black ski mask and camouflage who was perched in a tree.

Police responded with increased patrols in the area and, after receiving calls that the man was sighted in the woods, deployed helicopter and police dog units.

Llewellyn said that it was too early to determine whether the Police Department would seek financial compensation from the boys' parents for the cost of investigating the false claims.

Any punishment at the school level will be determined by Mayfield Woods Principal Susan Griffith.

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