A woman who police said ran down a Bolton Hill street firing a pistol into the air while chasing a man who had just robbed her boyfriend at gunpoint was ordered jailed Wednesday on $35,000 bail.
The .40-caliber Beretta that Keyna Oduyoye told police she used to scare off two attackers Monday night on Bolton Street was registered legally, authorities said, but the Randallstown woman lacked a permit to carry the weapon. The couple had set up a meeting with the men to buy a car advertised on Craigslist.
Carry permits are difficult to obtain in Maryland — with just 12,000 issued by state police — and the strict rules have prompted a court challenge. In March, a federal judge ruled a clause in state law requiring applicants to show a "good and substantial reason" to carry a handgun unconstitutional.
Gun enthusiasts have hailed the decision, saying it could help tens of thousands who have sought carry permits and been denied. The Maryland attorney general's office is appealing the ruling, and hearings could be held later this year.
"I don't know that everything this lady allegedly did with the gun was appropriate," said Alan Gura, an attorney for the man at the center of the pending case over carry laws. "Perhaps she should not have repeatedly fired the gun into the air.
"But generally speaking," said Gura, who works with the Second Amendment Foundation, "it's not fair that law-abiding people in Maryland are not able to obtain licenses to carry guns for self-defense. Maryland is way out of the mainstream on this. Throughout most of the country, people would not be arrested for that."
Baltimore police arrested Oduyoye, 30, and charged her with having a handgun on her person and in her car, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm on a public street. The men who attacked Oduyoye and her boyfriend escaped with $4,000 but left behind a black hat, scattered bills and a revolver, police said. Police are searching for the two men.
"The gun carry law still stands," said Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. "Even if she had a permit, to fire indiscriminately into the air poses a significant risk to the public and to the people involved. We are fortunate that no one in this case was killed as a result."
Police said in charging documents that Oduyoye owns three legally registered handguns but does not have a carry permit. State police said Wednesday that Oduyoye had never applied for a permit.
Gun owners are allowed to transport weapons, such as from their home to a firing range, but the gun must be unloaded and secure. Last weekend, Matthew Fraling, former chief of the Baltimore state's attorney's office's gun unit, was arrested after a routine city traffic stop and charged with having a loaded .38-caliber handgun in the center console of his car. Police said he did not have a carry permit.
The armed robbery and shooting Monday on a quiet residential street unnerved residents in Bolton Hill. Residents who witnessed parts of the attack declined to comment Wednesday, in part because the suspects have not been arrested. The neighborhood association has scheduled a meeting Monday evening to discuss crime.
Oduyoye told police that she and her boyfriend, Eseose Kadiri of Middle River, had responded to a Craigslist ad from someone who purported to be selling a Honda Accord for $5,000, according to charging documents filed Wednesday. Kadiri could not be reached for comment.
About 8:30 p.m. Monday, they met two men in the 1600 block of Bolton St. Oduyoye told police that Kadiri got out of the car and talked with one man while the other came to her Jeep, put a pistol to her stomach and said "her boyfriend would die" if she refused to hand over the money.
Police said the gunman and his accomplice then fought with Kadiri, who was unarmed. Charging documents say Oduyoye dialed 911 and "said she now feared for Mr. Kadiri's life, as well as hers."
Charging documents state that before police arrived, Oduyoye took her gun from the Jeep's glove compartment, got out and fired a shot into the air. Both attackers ran, with the gunman dropping his weapon but making off with $4,000 as the rest fluttered to the sidewalk.
Police said Oduyoye chased the gunman up the street, firing three more times into the air. Charging documents say she put the gun back into the glove compartment and waited for police. Officers reported that they found the gun, with one bullet in the chamber and four in the magazine.