Man indicted in shooting police say is gang and drug related

A 33-year-old man with a history of violence has been indicted in a September 2009 shooting that witnesses told police was sparked by a drug dispute among members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang.

Robert Looney, of the 2500 block of Maryland Ave., has been charged with orchestrating the shooting of Devon Cooper on Sept. 13, 2009, in the 1300 block of W. Pratt St. Records show Cooper was shot in the back of the head as he stood on the street, but survived.

Witnesses told detectives that Looney and Cooper were members of the Black Guerrilla Family, a prison-based gang tied to a slew of recent acts of violence and drug dealing. The witness said Looney ordered another member of the gang, who was 16 years old at the time, to shoot Cooper because of a dispute over drug sales, and others said they had heard Looney bragging and talking about the shooting.

Looney was picked up in June in Rocky Mount, N.C., where he was shot by police while trying to escape arrest on charges stemming from the Pratt Street shooting. Police said he took a woman hostage.

It was the second standoff involving Looney in recent years. He had also barricaded himself in a home in West Baltimore in 2007 when police tried to arrest him in connection with a shooting that had occurred days earlier. Looney was acquitted at trial of all charges in relation to that shooting.

Looney's early release from prison on a five-year, no parole sentence in 2006 also sparked discussion about "diminution credits" that allow inmates to shave time off their sentences for good behavior, working, and education.

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