A 16-year-old boy irate over having recently been kicked out of his family's West Baltimore house went back yesterday and fatally shot two female relatives as they were preparing to bake ++ Christmas cakes, police said.
Blossie Mae Revell, 77, and her niece, Frances Jean Battle, in her 40s, became the city's 346th and 347th homicide victims of 1993 -- the city's deadliest year -- when they were gunned down about 11:50 a.m. at the home in the 2500 block of W. Baltimore St.
Charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder is Loren Laprade, Mrs. Revell's nephew and a cousin to Mrs. Battle, police said.
"It's a tragic story. He [the Laprade youth] was raised by his aunt and uncle his whole life, but recently they'd had some problems, and they put him out of the house," said Sam Ringgold, a city police spokesman.
Loren Laprade -- who had been living at a home in the 1000 block of N. Rosedale St. -- returned to his family home yesterday and briefly argued with the two women, who were preparing desserts for the Christmas holiday, Mr. Ringgold said.
"There was batter ready to be put in the oven and a lot of cooking materials out. It looks as though [they] were about to make some holiday cakes," Mr. Ringgold said.
The Laprade youth, in an apparent rage from the argument, used a crowbar to open a locked gun case kept at the house by his uncle, police said.
He took out a .32-caliber revolver, walked into the upstairs bathroom and shot Mrs. Revell in the head, police said. He then went downstairs and chased Mrs. Battle -- who wasn't wearing shoes -- to the back yard and shot her in the upper body, police said.
Both women were pronounced dead at the scene.
No other family members were home at the time. Mrs. Revell's husband was in Washington, visiting relatives, police said.
The Laprade youth turned himself in at the Southwestern District police station about 90 minutes later.
The gun was later recovered on Franklintown Road, police said.
The slayings were the latest in a horrific year for city homicides. Yesterday, several neighbors and relatives stood outside the house -- decorated inside and out with Christmas lights and wreaths -- and shook their heads.
Roscoe Darden, 52, Mrs. Revell's nephew and a cousin to Mrs. Battle, said he came to the house yesterday after getting a report of bad news.
"I got a call this afternoon that my first cousin had gotten killed. And then when I got here, I found out my aunt had been killed too," he said.
"It's a terrible thing to happen around the holidays. My holiday is over," he said.
"I had the Christmas spirit, but I don't anymore. Blossie and her husband just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary sometime last week. He went to Washington today to visit a sick sister."
Ms. Revell was a member of the the Christian Community Church of God, at 2701 W. Baltimore St.
Pastor Melvin Green said, "Sister Revell has been a member of this church for a long time, since I was young. She was such a good member, I just can't believe this would happen to her."
The rowhouse where the shootings occurred had been decorated by someone with the holiday spirit. Ornaments hung inside the windows. Figurines of the Virgin Mary could also be seen in a few windows.
In the kitchen, the counter was cluttered with cooking pans, an electric mixer, flour and other ingredients that were being used to prepare the Christmas desserts, police said.