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Parent of Baltimore student charged with kidnapping son's classmate

The father of a Baltimore elementary school student is facing kidnapping and other charges after police said he locked his son's 11-year-old classmate in his car, and drove around cursing at him after learning the two boys had been in an altercation that day.

Donald Shields Sr., 33, was charged with kidnapping, second-degree assault and false imprisonment in the Nov. 5 incident, which occurred at Yorkwood Elementary School, according to charging documents filed in District Court this week.

Tia Drakes, Shields' wife of 14 years, said her son had been bullied at school — including by the alleged victim — for the previous month.

According to police, the events occurred after school administrators told Shields about an incident involving his son and the alleged victim. Upon hearing that information, police said, Shields refused to go inside the school and resolve the matter, and sped away angrily.

"Shields drove up on the 11-year-old victim at a high rate of speed, nearly striking him," according to a police account in charging documents. He then left his car, approached the boy and "jacked him up by his clothing and forcibly placed him in his vehicle," the documents said.

"Shields, Sr. then drove [the victim] around briefly detaining him by holding the lock button," police wrote. The victim "was fearful of exiting a moving vehicle."

The boy returned to the school visibly shaken a short time later, police said. He had no visible injuries, but was afraid to walk home.

Drakes said her son didn't want to tell his family that he was being bullied because he didn't want them to think that "he couldn't handle himself."

She said she communicated with school administrators about the fighting and their response was limited to having the two boys sign a "no-fighting" contract.

Drakes said she also kept her children home from school for one week because she "refused to send them back to that environment without anyone getting to the bottom of this."

Shields remained in custody and his lawyer was not available to comment Tuesday.

According to Drakes, her husband saw the alleged victim and two other students attacking his 8-year-old son outside school while administrators talked nearby.

She said the children dispersed and he drove after the boy, who voluntarily got into the car, and that Shields returned him to the school.

"My son's jaw was busted to the white meat, and he was bleeding," Drakes said. "The teachers thanked him for bringing the boy back."

Shields' son's teachers described the father in character letters dated Nov. 16 as an involved parent and positive presence in the school.

In a statement, city school officials confirmed the school police's details of the incident, but said that it took place after school hours, in the school's Northeast Baltimore community.

According to the charging documents, the preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Drakes said that Shields has encouraged the children to keep faith in God.

"He said, 'Tell them to be on their best behavior and I'll be home for Christmas,'" she said.

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