Columbia Man Shot In Leg At Apartment

August 01, 2009|By Don Markus | Don Markus,don.markus@baltsun.com

The calm of what residents called a quiet Howard County neighborhood was briefly interrupted Friday afternoon when an 18-year-old Columbia man was shot in the leg at an apartment he was visiting.

Police put two local schools and a day care center on lockdown as they searched for his assailant, who they arrested later that day.

Walter Richardson of the 5500 block of Sheffield Court was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, police said.

The incident took place inside an apartment in the 5000 block of Green Mountain Circle in Columbia about 1 p.m. Police said the shooter, Jamal Stevenson Strickland, 19, accidentally discharged a weapon that struck Richardson.

Strickland had initially told police that a suspect entered the apartment through an unlocked door, fired at Richardson and then fled. The investigation revealed that Strickland's statement was false and he was the shooter. The two are acquaintances.

Strickland was charged with reckless endangerment, making false statements, illegal possession of a handgun and two other handgun charges, according to police. He remained in custody awaiting bail review. As a result of the shooting, police informed Cynthia Bell, assistant director of the Lornwood Daycare Center, to keep about 50 children inside.

An employee who came to the front door of Wilde Lake High School, who asked not to be identified, said that the school - which was virtually empty by midafternoon - was also on lockdown, as was Bryant Woods Elementary School.

Bell said the neighborhood pool adjacent to the day care center remained open.

"I could see the kids diving off the board and jumping into the water," Bell said.

The pool closed later in the day because of storms passing through the area, an employee leaving the pool said.

Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Schroen said that the lockdown lasted about a half-hour and that the pool manager was informed.

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