Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Charges dropped in shooting of 12


Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a man arreste last month in the shooting of 12 people on an East Baltimore street after a Saturday night craps game.

The case against Sean Levin Brooks -- 12 counts of attempted murder and handgun violations -- was dropped at a preliminary hearing Thursday.

Mr. Brooks, 23, who had been held on $1 million bail, was released from jail, prosecutors said.

The information that led to Mr. Brooks' arrest the day after the April 10 shooting turned out to be questionable, Patricia Jessamy, Baltimore deputy state's attorney, said yesterday.

"The initial understanding of the case later did not pan out as the investigation continued," Ms. Jessamy said, although she declined to discuss specifics. "It was a legal decision that was made. As usually happens, you find out one thing, then your investigation takes you someplace else."

Ms. Jessamy said police have other leads in the case and some suspects have been identified. But Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman, was unable to say yesterday whether anyone has been charged.

The mass shooting occurred at the corner of 21st Street and Greenmount Avenue, where a group of men were in a neighborhood craps game.

Police said four men, armed with an assault rifle and other guns, fired about 40 shots into the crowd after one of the men lost money in the game.

Most of the wounds proved to be minor, and all 12 victims have since been released from area hospitals.

According to a charging document filed in Baltimore's Eastside District Court, three witnesses -- none of whom was named by police -- looked at a "photo lineup" of six pictures and "positively identified" Mr. Brooks as one of the gunmen who fired at the crowd.

But Mr. Brooks, who said he often stayed with his mother at her home in the 2000 block of Greenmount Ave. across the street from the shooting site, wondered yesterday how he could have been arrested when area residents and even the victims denied that he was involved.

Said Mr. Brooks: "My mother had a petition with 200 or 300 names on it, people in the neighborhood who said I didn't do it."

He said he was not at the scene of the shooting, but was helping move a girlfriend's family several blocks away on Bartlett Avenue.

Mr. Brooks was arrested that Sunday at the Citibank office in the first block of St. Paul St., where he was employed as a guard by a security firm.

Now, Mr. Brooks said, he is jobless.

"I called . . . and asked them if it would be possible to get my job back, and they said they didn't know right now," Mr. Brooks said of his employer, Loughlin Security Agency Inc. in Eastpoint.

Mr. Brooks, who said he helps care for and support a 4-year-old son, added: "I've been really trying to get my mind together. It really hurt that I got locked up for something I didn't do, and such serious charges."

The police had a file photo of Mr. Brooks because he and 10 other people were arrested June 24, 1992, in a drug raid at the Brooks' Greenmount Avenue home.

Mr. Brooks said the drug charges against him have been dropped. He maintained -- and a police report of the raid confirms -- that drugs seized by police were not found on the premises of his home, but in the rear yard of the house next door.

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