A 15-year-old Baltimore boy was arrested yesterday and charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 17 slaying of Erik P. Chestnutt, a Woodlawn High School student who was shot in an apparently random act of violence.
Otha Keyitta Samuel, taken into custody about 3 p.m. near his home in the 400 block of N. Edgewood St., was charged as an adult in the Chestnutt youth's killing, said Baltimore County police spokesman Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger.
The Chestnutt youth, 16, was shot in the back as he and several of his teen-age friends ran from a youth who -- according to witnesses -- pulled a gun and fired for no apparent reason.
No motive has been determined in the shooting, Sergeant Doarnberger said. The Samuel youth was identified as a suspect after police received confidential information, he said.
Police said Erik Chestnutt and his friends were confronted by the gunman as they walked toward pay phones at an Exxon station in the 1600 block of Belmont Ave. in Woodlawn about 11 p.m. The boys, who had just eaten at a McDonald's restaurant, were going to use the phones to call for rides home.
Police said it did not appear that the Chestnutt youth, who lived in the 3200 block of Timanus Lane, did anything to instigate trouble from the gunman.
Erik Chestnutt's mother, Joyce Elder, said yesterday that she did not know the Samuel youth and said she did not think that her son knew him.
"I don't know who he is, and I still don't know why anyone would have wanted to kill Erik," she said. "I'm relieved someone's been arrested. I've been under so much stress because my son was killed and there had been no justice done."
On the night of the shooting, police said the Chestnutt youth and about eight of his friends walked toward the phone booths to arrange for transportation when the gunman, who had been talking on the phone, pulled a gun.
As the group scattered, the assailant fired, hitting the Chestnutt youth in the upper left back.
The wounded youth ran about 400 feet in the direction of a nearby Ramada Inn and collapsed on the motel's parking lot. He was dead on arrival at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.