A driver’s handgun went off Wednesday during a struggle with a “squeegee kid” in West Baltimore after the driver pulled out the gun when the window washers surrounded her car, police said.
A 45-year-old Baltimore woman told police she was driving along Martin Luther King Boulevard near Washington Boulevard west of downtown when a group of kids with squeegees in hand surrounded her vehicle, spraying fluid on her windshield and demanding money, the police report states.
The woman, whose name was redacted in the report, told police the group was aggressive and began striking her vehicle with squeegees, causing damage. She told police she reached into her purse, pulled out her registered firearm and set it on her lap in her right hand as she told the group to back away from her car.
One of the youth then reached through the woman’s passenger side window and grabbed her right wrist, according to the police report. The two struggled for a moment before the gun discharged into the passenger seat of her vehicle.
After the gun went off, the group of squeegee workers fled in different directions, the woman told police.
The incident marks the latest development in what has become a perennial issue in downtown Baltimore, where school-age children and occasionally adults clean windshields in exchange for money.
Some motorists and downtown businesses have increasingly reported aggressive behavior from the workers. And some squeegee youth say they have endured similarly problematic reactions from drivers.
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young unveiled in September his “Squeegee Alternative Plan” that seeks to attack the poverty driving the youth to clean windshields.
Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.