Relatives Of Girl, 5, Voice Hope She'll Live

Governor Reported Briefed On Case Of Shooting

July 08, 2009|By Richard Irwin and Justin Fenton | Richard Irwin and Justin Fenton,richard.irwin@baltsun.com and justin.fenton@baltsun.com

The family of 5-year-old Raven Wyatt, who was struck in the head by a stray bullet last week, said in a brief interview that they believe the girl's condition has stabilized, and they are optimistic she will survive.

Though the family requested that hospital officials not release information about the girl's condition, Raven's mother, Danielle Brooks, met a reporter outside Johns Hopkins Hospital on Monday night to dispel rumors spreading through the community that the girl had died. She also said relatives hope that her condition will improve.

Police said Raven was critically wounded after 17-year-old Lamont Davis returned to a street fight with a weapon and began firing. Davis, who records show has been arrested 15 times as a juvenile and had cut off an electronic monitoring device, has been charged as an adult with two counts of attempted murder.

A source with knowledge of the girl's condition said she remains on a ventilator and that her condition has not changed.

The Baltimore Sun reported this week that Davis was being monitored in real time by a GPS ankle bracelet that he had removed before the shooting. Officials say Davis was initially ordered detained after being arrested on a robbery charge, but juvenile officials decided to release him June 19 on home monitoring. On July 1, a judge ordered that the monitoring continue.

Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, said the governor had been briefed on Davis' case and has asked Donald W. DeVore, the secretary for the department of juvenile services, "for a full timeline leading up to this horrific act of violence." Abbruzzese said part of the inquiry includes whether the home monitoring was appropriate oversight.

Citing privacy laws, juvenile services spokeswoman Tammy Brown said she could not discuss Davis' history further.

The GPS monitoring system is the size of a large watch, Brown said, and has a separate box that stays in the juvenile's home. A contractor monitors the juvenile's movements and contacts the state if a violation occurs. Davis is believed to have removed the device July 2, the day of the shooting.

He is not the first to remove the monitoring device and get into trouble. In April, 16-year-old Dominic Baker removed one and ran away from home. He was later found shot to death in a vacant rowhouse in the Carrollton Ridge neighborhood, just blocks from where Raven was shot last week.

In 2002, three troubled youths removed older versions of the monitoring devices and were charged with killing people in separate incidents.

The state has invested $1 million in the GPS technology, and Brown said about 200 juveniles at any given time are being monitored around the clock.

"We have been able to save lives," Brown said.

Davis had several arrests, dating back to age 10, though he had been found guilty - or "sustained," as it is referred to in juvenile court - only a handful of times. Sources say he had been released from a group home in Oxon Hill in December after showing improvement, and he was working with a mentor.

He was first charged June 2002 with assault with a deadly weapon, which was eventually dismissed. Charges of attempted theft, heroin and cocaine distribution, and auto theft were each dismissed. An auto theft case in July 2006 was sustained and he was placed on juvenile probation.

Another auto theft charge, from October 2006, was dismissed, and in October 2007 he was charged with armed carjacking after a man reported that three juveniles ordered him out of his car at a traffic light. He admitted to a charge of "fleeing and eluding."

In May 2007, a 13-year-old who said she was his girlfriend told police that he accosted her on the street, telling her that her pants were too tight and instructing her to change clothes. When she refused, she said, she was struck several times in the stomach and face. An officer wrote in a police report that after Davis was arrested, he said he "would get a knife and kill his pregnant girlfriend" when he was released.

In February 2008, he was committed to the custody of Juvenile Services, but he would be charged several times in the months that followed. In June 2008, he was picked up on a trespassing charge; in December, he was arrested and eventually admitted a drug possession charge. In January 2009, he was charged with second-degree assault, and on May 29, he was charged in the robbery.

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