Suspect Had Cut Off Gps Band

Teen Was Ordered To Wear It Before Girl's Shooting

July 07, 2009|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,

The teenage boy accused of firing the errant shot that critically injured a 5-year-old girl had cut off an electronic home monitoring bracelet mandated by the state after he pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge, The Baltimore Sun has learned.

Lamont Davis, 17, who has been arrested 15 times as a juvenile since he was 10, was ordered held without bond Monday in a bail review hearing in which his public defender sought to keep him from making an appearance.

Davis was arrested July 4 and charged as an adult with two counts of attempted first-degree murder after police say he returned to the scene of a street fight and sprayed bullets. One hit Raven Wyatt in the head and another struck a teen with whom he had argued.

In a statement, a state Department of Juvenile Services spokeswoman confirmed that Davis had been detained for several weeks and was released to state custody.

"We placed him on GPS, the highest sanction the department has, and we were monitoring him in real time," said agency spokeswoman Tammy Brown. "It was about 15 minutes after he cut off his bracelet that our workers were out looking for him. We then worked close with Baltimore police to apprehend him."

Sources, who were not authorized to discuss Davis' case because juvenile proceedings are sealed, said Davis had been committed to the custody of the state juvenile services agency since February 2008. During that time, he was arrested and charged in four incidents, not including last week's shooting.

At Monday's bail review hearing, a public defender went to great lengths to prevent Davis from having to appear in the courtroom. After listening to arguments from attorneys, District Court Judge George M. Lipman ordered that Davis, who has a teardrop tattoo under his right eye, not stand when his name was read.

His attorney declined to argue against Davis' no-bail status, preventing information about his background and criminal history from being read aloud.

Meanwhile, several blocks away at the Juvenile Justice Center, the intended victim of Thursday's shooting appeared in a juvenile courtroom for an arraignment. The charges were unclear, as reporters were evicted from the courtroom. Prosecutor Jennifer Rallo, citing safety concerns for the boy, asked Master James P. Casey to close the courtroom. The Baltimore Sun is not identifying the 17-year-old because he has been charged as a juvenile.

Reports of Davis' lengthy record had the city's top prosecutor renewing calls for a state juvenile justice system overhaul.

"The state has an archaic system in which we operate under the misimpression that everyone under 18 can be rehabilitated for repeatedly committing violent crimes," said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. "We must find a way to provide rehabilitation, but also accountability and punishment."

Davis was arrested May 29 on a juvenile robbery charge, accused of hitting and choking a woman and taking her purse and cell phone. He was ordered detained June 2, and June 19 was committed once again to the custody of the state.

On July 1, Davis submitted the equivalent of a guilty plea and was ordered to remain in the community, under state supervision, sources said. The shooting occurred the next day.

Sources told The Baltimore Sun - and the state juvenile services confirmed - that Davis removed the ankle bracelet, though it was unclear how long exactly he had been without the device.

Monday night, within yards of where Raven was shot, at least 200 people gathered for a prayer service organized by the city NAACP chapter. In a highlight of the service, the men in the audience joined hands, creating a circle around the women and children, in a show of support and love.

"After the news media and whatever politicians are here will leave, all of you have to stay here and live here, and we must protect our children," said Michael Johnson, founder of the Paul Robeson Institute and one of about a dozen speakers.

"We have to do more in this city to protect our babies," said the Rev. Israel Cason, who called on everyone in the audience to help stop the violence.

"It's a terrible tragedy for a 5-year-old child to be cut down. And it's going to take everyone's effort - from City Hall on down to the streets - to improve life here in Baltimore," NAACP chapter president Marvin "Doc" Cheatham said before the event.

Court records obtained Monday shed more light on the July 2 shooting of Raven.

At 4:08 p.m., an officer on routine patrol in the 100 block of S. Pulaski St. was flagged down by a male who said a young girl had been shot a few blocks south. The officer saw a crowd of people standing over Raven, who was face down in the middle of the street, records show.

Area residents told reporters after the shooting that an ambulance took far too long to arrive. A Fire Department spokesman, Chief Kevin Cartwright, said an ambulance arrived five minutes after the first call.

Detective Bryan Kershaw wrote in charging documents that several pieces of evidence were recovered from the scene, including ballistic evidence. A drop of blood was also found in front of a home in the 400 block of S. Payson St.

Baltimore Sun reporters Richard Irwin and Melissa Harris contributed to this article.

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