Police vow to drive dealers from complex


Police promised residents yesterday that they would "make i hot" for drug dealers at Northeast Baltimore's Claremont public housing complex in the wake of Monday's fatal shooting of a 25-year-old man there.

Police believe an unknown gunman shot Damon A. Toodle of the 4100 block of Coleman Ave. in the head in retaliation for the victim's having shot at him. The shooting occurred outside the 152-apartment Claremont Towers high-rise for the elderly.

Police had made no arrest in the murder last night.

Residents complained yesterday that blatant drug dealing was plaguing the neighborhood just down the street from Archbishop Curley High School.

Major Burt Shirey, commander of the Northeastern District, told the crowd gathered at the community auditorium off Sinclair Lane that he would increase police presence in the area. He asked, in return, that residents provide him with information to help keep dealers out of the neighborhood.

"I'm going to make it so hot around here that drug dealers won't come out on the street," Major Shirey said.

Councilman John L. Cain, D-1st, present at the meeting and taking notes, said he would hold Major Shirey to his promise.

"He said it," Mr. Cain said, "and as far as I'm concerned, that's a promise to the community."

Anna Warren, president of the Claremont Tenant Council who lives in a low-rise complex a block away, said after Monday's shooting that gunfire is not unusual in the neighborhood. What would be effective, Ms. Warren said yesterday, is for residents to march up to dealers on the corner and run them out.

She told the crowd: "If I had all of you behind me, I don't need to call the police. I just need you behind me and we could go up to them and say: 'Take your stuff across town. We don't need you here. We don't want you here.' Let's go out there and tell them: 'Get the hell out of Claremont.' "

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