Teen charged in neighborhood melee BALTIMORE CITY


The East Baltimore neighbors were beating each other with sticks and a bat Tuesday night.

By the time Alvin Holt turned the corner of Chase Street and Patterson Park Avenue with an ice cream about 10 p.m., the fight had erupted into gunfire and young Alvin took a bullet in the leg.

"A [man] and girl were fighting. A man was hit in the head with a bat and then there was shooting," the 10-year-old said yesterday. "Everyone ran into their houses."

Alvin, who lives in the 2200 block of E. Chase St., was shot in his left calf, one of four bystanders -- three children and an adult -- hit by bullets during the neighborhood fracas that had been brewing between two families for more than a year.

About 9 p.m. yesterday, police arrested Antonio E. Jeffrey, 16, of the 2700 block of The Alameda, and charged him as an adult with four counts each of attempted murder and handgun violations, said Sam Ringgold, a city police spokesman. The youth was arrested at his mother's house after police obtained information from witnesses, Mr. Ringgold said. The handgun has not been recovered.

Police charge that the youth began shooting moments after two families threw punches and swung sticks and a baseball bat in a fight that began with angry words.

"The shooting . . . was a result of a feud between the neighbors in the area," Mr. Ringgold said.

Sandra Brown, 26, who was also in the fight, said the gunman fired about 10 shots, hitting her niece, 9-year-old Ashley Ward of the 900 block of N. Patterson Park Ave., in the right shoulder. James Woods, 12, of the 1400 block of Patterson Park Ave., was hit in the right buttock and Clarence Weststone, 26, of the 2200 block of E. Chase St., was shot in his left calf. The children were treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Mr. Weststone refused help.

John Diggs, 18, who also was involved in the fight, was angry that what began as a fistfight between two young girls ended with children shot. The fight was originally between his 13-year-old sister and their next-door neighbor, he said, though the feud had been brewing since December 1992.

Lorraine Holt, 33, Alvin's mother, said she'll be more careful now about sending her son to the store at night.

"We've lived in the neighborhood only since last August, but I planned to move way before this happened," she said. "I hear about kids being shot, but I never thought my child would be hit."

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