Downtown attack called anomaly

Barber student in Shock Trauma after stabbing at bus stop

May 30, 2008|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

Shannon L. Dudley stayed late at a barber school in Dundalk to cut hair and study for his state certification exam. He followed his usual route home, catching a bus to downtown Baltimore, where he planned to switch to another bus that would take him to Towson.

But while waiting for that next bus at Charles and Baltimore streets Tuesday night, police said, he was attacked and possibly robbed by a man with a knife.

Yesterday, Dudley, 22, was at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where his mother said doctors had operated for hours to repair his wounds. Police were chasing thin leads because few witnesses were near the corner where the attack occurred during a downpour about 10 p.m. It was a rare downtown assault.

FOR THE RECORD - A photograph of Shannon L. Dudley in yesterday's Maryland section was incorrectly credited. The picture was provided courtesy of the Afro-American newspaper.
The Sun regrets the error.

"It's just crazy. It's just senseless and crazy," Tilithea Ransome, 47, said. "But I can't concentrate on that right now. I just got to worry about him getting better." Dudley was out of surgery and showing signs of recovery by yesterday afternoon. Ransome said all his organs are functioning.

Dudley is close to finishing his education at Avara's Academy of Hair Design. Ransome said Dudley, her only son, was schooled in Northeast Baltimore and graduated from the Greater Grace Christian Academy high school in 2003.

While in elementary school, he met former City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr., who became a mentor. A Feb. 4, 1995, article published in the Baltimore Afro-American about Harris' work in the community included a photo of him with Dudley.

Harris, whose daughter Nicole went to school with Dudley, said he used to take the boy with him to radio programs, church and the library. He would also have Dudley over for dinner at his house, and he visited the family at Shock Trauma yesterday.

"He was a very quiet kid, a good kid," Harris said. "He had a lot of dreams and hopes. He was always of an entrepreneurial mind-set, so I'm not surprised he wants to be a barber and own his own shop."

Police Department crime data for the Central District, which includes a broad area beyond the downtown district, showed 10 homicides as of May 24 - four more than last year for the similar period. Four of the 10 slayings have occurred in the downtown area, including one male who was dropped off at Shock Trauma after being stabbed at an undetermined location. The other three victims were young siblings who police say were killed by their father, Mark A. Castillo, at a hotel.

Officials with the Downtown Partnership, a nonprofit group that promotes living and working downtown, said violent street crime is rare around the Inner Harbor. Pointing to police statistics, Michael Evitts, a spokesman for the partnership, said violent crime is down 6.7 percent and property crime is down 12.7 percent this year when compared with last year's figures for the period.

"It's important for us to remind our constituents that this is an anomaly," Evitts said. He said the Downtown Partnership co-chairs a coalition of local businesses and residential apartment building operators who were briefed on the stabbing. He said no similar knife attacks occurred in the downtown area in the days and weeks leading up to the attack on Dudley.

At Avara's Academy, Patty Sikorski, a student coordinator, said she signed up Dudley when he first joined the school more than a year ago. She said he was known for staying late and taking customers who walked in the door. He had built up a loyal following.

"I remember that he was the sweetest human being I ever met," Sikorski said. "He was a tiny thing. I can't believe it happened to him."

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