A 28-year-old man who was recently released from prison was charged Saturday night in what police described as a bloody melee that left one dead and seven others wounded at a high school reunion in Cherry Hill earlier the same day.
James L. Dixon of 900 Kevin Road was charged with fatally stabbing Carrington McNutt and injuring at least seven others at a Walbrook High School reunion for classes 1995 through 2005 at the Patapsco Arena on Annapolis Road, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.
"One individual basically went on a stabbing rampage," he said.
Dixon is charged with first-degree murder, as well as several counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
Saturday afternoon, friends and relatives streamed in and out of McNutt's rowhouse in the 2800 block of W. Lafayette Ave. The house was his childhood home, where he lived with his mother and sister.
"Everybody from this neighborhood knew each other," said Carrington's sister, Chandra McNutt. She said lots of people from all over town were attending the reunion, although she did not attend.
"I'm still in shock," she said from inside the door. She said her brother left behind a young daughter.
Police say it is unclear at this point what caused the dispute.
McNutt was stabbed in the neck and upper torso, Moses said. He was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center and pronounced dead at 1:40 a.m., about an hour after the fight. The other victims were taken to various area hospitals and are expected to survive, Moses said.
Wesley Souders, a manager at the arena who was working during the event, said the contract was for about 600 people to attend the dance, which was supposed to end at 2 a.m.
"They were playing their music. They were dancing. They seemed to be having a good time," he said.
About 25 security guards were manning the event, Souders said, and police are routinely notified ahead of time when the space is rented out. Police had stopped in and reported that "everything is fine," Souders said, but the fight broke out shortly after.
"We couldn't see exactly where it started," he said.
The parking lot behind the Patapsco Arena was packed with people attending a flea market Saturday afternoon while workers wearing white plastic jumpsuits cleaned inside the event hall. Some blood drops remained near the back entrance and down a concrete wheelchair ramp.
Moses said a knife — the apparent weapon — and a handgun, which was not used in the fight, were recovered from the scene.
Security on site detained witnesses who pointed to the suspect, police said.
McNutt and Dixon were involved in incidents of violence throughout their lives, court records show.
In June 2005, McNutt was shot on his own block. He was charged with attempted murder in the shooting a 28-year-old on the same block a few months later. The charge was not pursued, court records show.
Two years ago, McNutt was one of three people shot during an altercation outside the China Room nightclub on Calvert Street downtown and he had a number of drug convictions in Baltimore courts.
Dixon also had a prior criminal history.
In May 2003 he pled guilty to a drug distribution charge, receiving a 10-year sentence with nine years and six months suspended and three years of probation. A little more than a year later, he was found guilty of violating his probation and sentenced to six years. He was also found guilty in October 2005 on a burglary charge from 2004 and was sentenced to 15 years with all but five years suspended and three years of probation.