The argument could be heard first, neighbors said. Then the police lights began flashing through their windows.
Residents in Baltimore's Upton neighborhood, not unfamiliar with police activity, said they peered outside. A man they recognized as a neighbor lay on the concrete in just his boxer shorts, not moving much and apparently wounded, they said.
"I heard the argument, and I came down to the first floor to look and saw all the police and the man laying on the ground. I thought it was a dead body," said Sanyika Fitzpatrick, a 15-year resident of Walton Court, a residential box of homes northwest of downtown and across Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Maryland General Hospital.
Police say a domestic dispute turned violent about 6 a.m. Tuesday, when a woman arrived at the home of her child's father to drop the child off.
"They had a verbal argument, and it escalated into an altercation, a fight," said Detective Vernon Davis, a police spokesman.
The man, who was not identified, allegedly struck the woman first, Davis said, and was arrested on suspicion of assault. The woman, also unidentified, responded by stabbing the man in the top of the head with a sharp object, Davis said. She was not arrested immediately.
Neither was seriously injured; both remained at the scene about an hour later, talking with members of the Police Department's domestic violence unit. The child was not injured.
Fitzpatrick said she wasn't surprised by the violence.
"We're used to [police] flying up and down around here 24/7," Fitzpatrick said.
The neighborhood, along with nearby Druid Heights, was targeted recently to receive $500,000 in U.S. Department of Education funding under the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative — geared toward combating poverty by providing more holistic child services to local residents.
The effort is known locally as the "Promise Heights" project.
"Children must be safe, healthy and supported by adults across an entire community to reach their fullest potential," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement about the program. "Against all odds, Promise Neighborhoods work to provide families and children with the support they need to help break the cycle of poverty that threatens too many of our nation's communities."
On Tuesday morning, three police officers talked to the pair involved in the dispute, the man sitting on his porch, the woman on a concrete wall yards away. Both were wrapped in blankets against the morning chill.
Across the courtyard, neighbors watched, Fitzpatrick in a blanket of her own in her doorway. In the doorway next to hers, two small girls watched the adults, taking in the scene across the way, the police officers and the wounded man inside a perimeter of yellow tape.
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