Acting on a tip, city police converged on a West Baltimore house and arrested a 17-year-old youth who is accused of firing an assault rifle into a Hollander Ridge apartment on Monday killing a 13-year-old boy.
The suspect, Marquis Dayvon Bryson of the 2300 block of Edewing Court, was arrested without incident at 11:40 a.m. in the 1800 block of N. Mount St.
He was charged as an adult with first-degree murder and a deadly weapons offense, said Police Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman.
The Bryson youth had been sought in the slaying of Lawrence T. Miller, of the 1100 block of N. Port St.
The victim was cut down by a fusillade of bullets fired into an apartment in the 2300 block of Odell Ave.
Witnesses told police that the murder weapon appeared to have been an AK-47. Police continued to search for it last night.
The Miller boy, whose nickname was "Knuckles," his twin brothers and a friend were in the Hollander Ridge apartment early Monday afternoon, visiting a friend, Tauris Ennis, 19, who lives there.
Police said the Bryson youth banged on the apartment door angrily yelling for Mr. Ennis to come outside and, when no one answered, the apartment was sprayed with bullets.
Agent Price said police are investigating whether the shooting was drug-related or if it was sparked by a dispute the Bryson youth was having with Mr. Ennis over a girl.
One of Lawrence's brothers, Daryl Davis, 15, recalled the incident yesterday as he stood outside his North Port Street home.
Daryl Davis said that shortly after the foursome arrived at the apartment, Mr. Ennis went outside and got into an argument with a youth who had made a derogatory remark about his girlfriend.
Mr. Ennis returned to the apartment, Daryl continued, and a knock at the door came moments later.
"The boy had come back," he said. "When he came back, he banged on the door real loud, and my little brother was standing up. My brother had been sitting down, but as soon as we heard the knock, Tauris said 'Don't answer it.' [Lawrence] went toward the curtains and the shots came. The first shot hit him."
Daryl said his brother fell to the floor and rolled over, struggling to talk. None of the other four people was struck, although at least nine bullets lodged in the apartment's walls, furniture and appliances.
"I said, 'You're going to make it out of this,' " he recalled telling his brother.
"I told him don't talk, because I couldn't understand what he was saying. He was just making noises. I gave him a kiss on the cheek."
As he talked with a reporter, Daryl motioned toward the end of the narrow block in East Baltimore.
He said one of the two men standing at the corner of Chase Street and Port was Mr. Ennis, a family friend. He said Mr. Ennis had been crying, blaming himself for Lawrence's death.
For Rhonda Branch, Lawrence's mother, it was bad enough that she had lost a son. A day after the slaying, she worried about not having enough money to bury him.
Ms. Branch, 35, Lawrence Miller and her other five children lived in poverty on Port Street. She doesn't have a job, doesn't receive any public assistance and doesn't have any insurance to pay for funeral expenses. She's been told that a funeral will cost about $3,800.
"If I knew my child was going to leave me at 13, I would have gotten insurance," she said. "They say you're supposed to get insurance for your children."
She said a neighbor was going around the community taking collections and that family members would contribute. But she only expected those efforts to raise "a couple hundred dollars."
Ms. Branch said she had received public assistance, but those benefits were cut four months ago. She said her sister and friends have helped the family survive.
"They feed us, they are giving us a place to stay until I get back on my feet," she said, adding that she would try to find a job to get insurance for her surviving children.
Mary Davis, Lawrence's grandmother, said she'll be taking a few weeks off from her job as a housekeeper at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Lawrence was taken to that same hospital after he was shot, but doctors were unable to save him.
"I had the day off, so I wasn't there when they brought him in, thank God," said Mrs. Davis. "But it's going to be a while before I feel I can go back and be with the children again. I'm going to miss Lawrence. He was a beautiful little boy."