Cookout Shooting Victim Arrested

August 26, 2009|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,

Stephen "J.R." Blackwell Jr. is apparently getting tired of the extra police attention.

Blackwell, 25, who police say is a major drug kingpin on the city's east side but who has not been arrested since age 17, was charged with disorderly conduct Monday night in East Baltimore after being approached by police for a field interview. According to court records, Blackwell became "loud and belligerent" and yelled, "[Expletive] you all. I'm going to make it very hard on the police around here."

The Police Department has flooded the Monument Street corridor on the city's east side since 12 people were shot at a cookout July 26, part of a night during which 18 people were shot in the city, two fatally. Blackwell was among those injured at the cookout shooting, which police believe may have been part of a running feud between rival drug gangs.

Last year, Blackwell's two younger brothers were abducted from their Catonsville home by rival drug dealers who believed Blackwell was ripping them off, according to documents filed in federal court by an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Blackwell paid a ransom of $500,000 to get his brothers back, the records show.

Police say that abduction touched off a wave of retaliatory killings and shootings that continues today. No one has been charged in any of the slayings, but several of the key players believed to be involved have been arrested on other charges or killed.

Police made an arrest in one homicide: the July 19 killing of 16-year-old Jerrod Reed, who police believe was an innocent victim struck by an errant bullet. But sources said that shooting is believed to be linked to the cookout shooting, though that case remains open.

Blackwell was questioned as a witness for hours after he was shot in the forearm in the cookout shooting, but he has avoided arrest. Attempts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.

Officer James C. Shockley Jr. wrote in charging documents for Monday's incident that police have been in the area in response to the recent shootings and an "increase in known gang members frequenting the area." He stopped Blackwell in the 500 block of N. Streeper St. about 6:40 p.m. In addition to his declaration that he would make it "hard on police," Shockley wrote in the police report, Blackwell's yelling caused a disturbance, and he was taken into custody to "abate the problem."

Blackwell was taken to Central Booking and released on his own recognizance.

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