3 shootings in Howard County leave 5 hurt

April 08, 2010|By Don Markus | don.markus@baltsun.com

A rare spasm of violence in Howard County late Tuesday and early Wednesday sent five shooting victims to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Investigators believe the three shootings - two in Laurel, one in Clarksville - that took place within a five-hour span were not related.

They were the second, third and fourth shootings in the county this year.

"We had a very unfortunate night last night," county Police Chief William McMahon told reporters in Ellicott City.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the back in the 9100 block of Hitching Post Lane in Laurel about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Initially listed in critical condition at Shock Trauma, he had been upgraded by midday Wednesday.

A 16-year-old who was shot in the face was in stable condition. Police declined to release the name of either youth.

Bloodstains remained on a concrete walkway in the Whiskey Bottom condominium complex Wednesday.

"I heard four gunshots," said Lisa Edens, who lives across a parking lot from the scene. "I looked out the window, and I didn't see anything; then a minute later, I heard sirens, and then two minutes later [the police] were here."

The shooting of the two boys was reported at 12:51 a.m. Two minutes later, another shooting was reported at a trailer park less than a mile and a half away, in the 100 block of Alma Ave.

Arthur Thomas, 27, who lives on that street, and Michael Fitchett, 36, whose address was unknown, were shot in the leg after a confrontation with two people who police believe were staying at an Econo Lodge next door. Fitchett was listed in serious condition, authorities said.

Neighbors said the men were walking around the trailer park because they had seen two people come from the motel. Thomas and Fitchett asked the strangers what they were doing. The strangers left the trailer park and returned a short time later with guns, neighbors said. They said Thomas told them he had been shot several times and couldn't feel his leg and that Fitchett was also hit several times.

A 23-year-old woman who lives nearby with her three young children said her trailer was hit at least six times. One bullet went through a wall in the kitchen and ended up in the living room.

"I woke my kids up and told them to get down," said the woman, who asked not to be identified. "I'm originally from South Baltimore, so I know what gunshots are."

Lea Thomson, who has lived in the trailer park for two years, said there have been other incidents involving motel guests.

"People are always drinking and screaming and yelling at my 15-year-old daughter," she said.

Motel owner Yogi Daya said there is no problem between motel guests and trailer park residents.

Hours before the Laurel shootings, a Fort Washington man was shot in the western part of the county.

Brandon Michael Boswell, 25, of the 900 block of Swan Creek Road in Fort Washington, had gone with four friends to the 5400 block of Broadwater Lane in Clarksville to meet a man, police said.

After the man arrived, police said, another car pulled up and a man and a woman wearing masks got out and demanded money. After robbing the group, one of them shot Boswell in the leg, police said.

Boswell was upgraded at Shock Trauma after initially being listed as serious. Police said officers were investigating the possibility that the incident was drug-related.

Police have no suspects in the shootings Tuesday and Wednesday, but are looking for a 2003 Chevy Impala with Maryland tags JGA226 in the Alma Avenue shooting.

Police are offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in any of the cases. Anyone with information is asked to call 410-313-STOP. Police said tipsters would remain anonymous.

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