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When violence lands at your feet: bullet from Baltimore shooting ricochets past woman, 80, in her dining room

Angela Patten, 80, reacts to a shooting in which a stray bullet sailed past her, as she sat in her living room. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun video)

The mail had just been delivered, and Angela Patten was sitting by a window in her dining room going through it. Suddenly, a bullet blasted through the other window in the room, struck mirrored tiles on the wall across from it and, she would later learn, ricocheted into the corner where she had been sitting.

“It scared me to death,” said Patten, who recently turned 80. “I heard the glass break, I didn’t know where it was. I got scared and ran into the kitchen.”

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The spate of violence that coursed through Baltimore in recent days landed at her feet on Friday afternoon.

A bullet rests next to the floorboard of the Patten home, near the scene of a shooting at Sumter and Park Heights avenues.
A bullet rests next to the floorboard of the Patten home, near the scene of a shooting at Sumter and Park Heights avenues. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

A barrage of gunfire broke out in the area of Park Heights Avenue and Sumter Avenue shortly before 3 p.m., police said. A man was found with a gunshot wound to his upper body, they said, and was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

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The homicide comes on the heels of one of Baltimore most violent days: On Thursday, 12 people were shot, four fatally, in seven incidents. It was not unprecedented — there have been at least two other days in which 12 people were shot.

Friday’s homicide shook, saddened and frightened many in the neighborhood, to the point they refused to give their names for fear of getting drawn into whatever beefs are playing out.

“It is hopeless,” one resident said.

“I just feel like in this whole situation, it’s no humanity anymore. No one cares about each other anymore,” said another.

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“I need to get her out of here,” said a woman standing on her mother’s porch.

Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison called Thursday — his “most violent” day on the job in which four people were fatally shot and eight others were injured — “totally unacceptable.”

Yellow crime tape marked off several patches of the neighborhood, and police laid down more than 25 evidence markers, reflecting what residents said were so many gunshots they couldn’t count them.

As officers continued working on the scene, a resident called out to reporters, telling them that a bullet had come through Patten’s home. She said they didn’t find the bullet. After several journalists spoke with her they crawled around the dining room until a Sun photographer located it — in the corner where Patten had been sitting, behind a ladder and a bucket with a mop in it.

The living room mirror is broke after a stray bullet pierced a double paned window, through the living room and slammed into the metal mirror frame below a crucifix in the Patten home in Baltimore.
The living room mirror is broke after a stray bullet pierced a double paned window, through the living room and slammed into the metal mirror frame below a crucifix in the Patten home in Baltimore. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

“She was a little shook up,” said Patten’s husband Walter, 76. He was sitting in the living room, and heard “a lot of shots.”

The couple have been married for 50 years, and have lived in the house for more than 30 of them. They have seven kids, all grown. The “baby” is 49 years old. Despite what happened Friday, they say they feel safe here, just steps away from their church.

“You know what? I am a religious person,” Angela Patten said. “I pray about everything and worry about nothing.

“I pray for all those that still have their lives,” she said, “and the ones that don’t have them.”

Five men were shot — one fatally — in a shooting in West Baltimore on Thursday evening, according to Baltimore Police. 

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