They were unlikely victims, friends and family members said.

They each had different dreams, but the four boys wounded in yesterday's Randallstown High School shooting were on their way to achieving their goals.

Junior Marcus McLain, quarterback of the Rams' winning varsity football team, dreams of going to college and seeing his name on the NFL's starting roster.

Alexander Brown, 17 and a senior, has a similar vision. His is of free throws and swooshing three-point shots, friends said.

He hopes to walk on to the basketball team at Hampton University after graduation next month.

William Thomas - called "Tippa" by those who know him well - is reserved, affectionate and mannerly.

A senior on the Randallstown football team, he has been accepted to Morgan State University on an engineering scholarship.

And Andre Mellerson loves to make people - especially the ladies - laugh.


Friends and family members were in disbelief yesterday that the four athletic, ambitious young men had been caught up in such violence.

"I was saying to myself, 'It wasn't him. It wasn't him,'" said Brown's cousin Emanuel Capers. "But it was him."

McLain seemed to live and breathe football. His father coaches a Pop Warner team.

Off the football field, friends said, McLain is a typical teen-ager who likes shopping at the mall and talking to girls.

"He just wanted to get out of high school, go to college, play football, get to the NFL. That's his dream," said sophomore Brandon Ortiz, 15.

Mellerson - good-looking and fashionable - wasn't the type to be involved in anything negative, friends said.

"He's a ladies' man," said freshman Latea Bell, 15.

"He don't start no trouble. He likes to keep his mouth shut."

'Will to live'

Thomas, the most seriously wounded, had only recently moved to the area from Georgia to live with his aunt and guardian, Ann R. Godwin of Pikesville.