A 14-year-old Southern High School student was shot with a BB gun yesterday as he walked near Baltimore's Cross Street Market -- an area police and residents said is becoming inundated with after-school violence among students.
The boy, a ninth-grader at Southern, wasn't seriously injured. He was treated at and released from the University of Maryland Medical Center with BB pellet wounds to his hand, shoulder, buttocks and the back of the head, police said.
At least two police officers who were assigned to patrol the high school area because of numerous after-school fights in recent weeks went to the aid of the victim when they saw him running from five other students, police said.
In response to the violence, officials have called a meeting for 11 a.m. Monday at City Hall to discuss neighborhood concerns about students from Southern High.
"It's got to come to a stop. It's out of control," said state Sen. George W. Della Jr., a Democrat whose district includes South Baltimore and who has an office at Light and Montgomery streets.
"We've got serious problems down here with kids who happen to be going to Southern High School," he said. "We've got schoolchildren who are totally out of control. They don't have any respect for themselves, for the schools, for the neighborhood, the merchants.
"This has gotten to a point where people are saying, 'We have had enough.' I just got back from a meeting with the merchants, where they said there's nothing else to do but move the school."
The victim in yesterday's incident reported that he and a friend were walking about 11:30 a.m. at Cross and William streets, about a half-block from the public market, when he turned around and noticed a group of other students following them, police said.
Students at Southern had a half-day off yesterday because of teachers' meetings.
The victim said he recognized the boys behind him as fellow students, police said.
The victim said he heard "a popping sound" and realized he had been hit with some type of pellet, said Agent Doug Price, a police spokesman. The boy ran for about a block to the corner of Cross and Light streets, where his mother was waiting to pick him up in her car, police said.
The officers said they noticed the boy appeared frightened and intervened. The five alleged attackers, all Southern students, were arrested and questioned, police said.
All of the youths were photographed and released to the custody of their parents. Charges are pending the victim's identification of the suspects from their photos, police said.
Police officials said they have responded to numerous reports of fights between students in the Cross Street area. The incidents typically occur in the hour right before and after school.