A 16-year-old boy was arrested yesterday and charged with shooting a kindergarten teacher in the face on Feb. 1.
Baltimore police said the youth was attempting to steal the teacher's Acura Legend, which he planned to strip and use for parts to repair his own Acura.
Xavier Cornelius Wilson was arrested about 11 a.m. after being pulled out of his science class at Northwestern High School. He was charged as an adult with attempted murder, assault with intent to murder, attempted carjacking and felony use of a handgun, police said.
At a news conference, city police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier called the crime "a vicious shooting" and described the Wilson youth as a member of the "Park Heights Hustlers" drug gang in Northwest Baltimore.
"This was a stranger-to-stranger crime. Most any of us could have been the victim," Mr. Frazier said. "It's the kind of crime that really does touch you."
The victim, Julie A. Lombardi, 41, was driving home from her teaching job at Malcolm X Elementary School when a teen-ager approached the car about a half block from the Northwest Baltimore school. Mrs. Lombardi resisted orders to leave the car, and as she drove off, the teen-ager fired about five shots at her with a .45-caliber pistol, police said.
One of the bullets tore through the left side of her face, shattering the bone structure that supports her upper teeth, the floor of her nose and upper palate.
She was released Monday from Sinai Hospital after complex surgery that used grafts from her ribs to repair her facial bones.
Mrs. Lombardi drives a 1988 Acura Legend, a car that Xavier Wilson "had scoped out" prior to the shooting as a suitable vehicle he could strip for parts, said Officer Mark Wiedefeld of the Northwestern District.
"He [Xavier Wilson] has a 1987 Acura Legend, and it needed major repair," Officer Wiedefeld said. "He waited for his chance and moved in."
Mrs. Lombardi's husband, Marty Lombardi, said last night that although the family was relieved that an arrest had been made, "We're sick that someone would try to kill someone for parts for an Acura Legend. I hope he gets the death penalty."
Officer Wiedefeld said the Wilson youth is part of a group of cocaine dealers in the Park Heights area. During raids at four houses yesterday morning, police seized about $5,000 worth of rock cocaine and two handguns, he said.
Xavier Wilson's cousin, Keith Cooke, 28, of the 2900 block of Springhill Ave., was arrested on narcotics charges in the raids, Officer Wiedefeld said. Police said Xavier Wilson lives in the same block.
Police said they are probing the Park Heights Hustlers for their possible roles in other crimes. The Wilson youth was arrested on an attempted murder charge in July 1992 and was charged as an adult despite being just 14, but those charges were later dropped, criminal records show.
He was identified as a suspect in Mrs. Lombardi's shooting primarily through cooperation from residents, police said. Police said he was being held at the Northwestern District lockup last night awaiting a bail hearing before a court commissioner.