2 shot to death at playground teen-ager killed by stray bullet


Three people were shot to death in Baltimore yesterday, two men on a crowded East Baltimore playground and a teen-ager who was struck by a stray bullet in Southwest Baltimore, police said.

And late last night, homicide detectives were investigating the suspicious deaths of two people whose bodies were found in a house in the 4300 block of Forestview Ave. in Northeast Baltimore. Police were called to the scene about 1:30 p.m.

Yesterday's slayings brought to eight the number of people killed in Baltimore since Saturday night. There have been 163 homicides in the city this year, down from 200 at the same time last year.

The latest killings occurred about 3:30 p.m. yesterday in Collington Square, a playground at East Preston Street and North Patterson Park Avenue next to Collington Square Elementary School, police said.

Sgt. Albert Diggs of the Eastern District said two men were standing under a tree near a swing set when gunfire erupted. The men were shot multiple times, including in the head, police said.

One of the men fell face down in the grass with his legs crossed. He was armed with a .380-caliber handgun, which police found stuffed in his pants, Sergeant Diggs said. "He never got it out of his pocket," the sergeant said.

The other man died en route to Johns Hopkins Hospital, Sergeant Diggs said. Police were unable to identify either man last night.

A teen-ager who was playing basketball on a court nearby suffered a graze wound, police said.

Sergeant Diggs said the teen-ager, who ran from the park and collapsed less than a block away on East Preston Street, was treated and released at Hopkins. He was questioned by homicide detectives at police headquarters last night.

At least 50 people were in the area where the incident occurred, but police had few details last night. They said they did not know who opened fire and had not identified any suspects or a motive.

Sergeant Diggs said the injured teen-ager "is the only witness. Nobody saw nothing. . . . I figure somebody will call homicide a little later."

People at the park, many of whom said they were too afraid to give their names, said they heard nine to 15 shots in rapid succession.

Donise Parham, 19, said she was about to leave her North Patterson Park Avenue rowhouse to take her 2-month old girl to the doctor when she heard the shots.

"When you got two little kids, this is frightening," Ms. Parham said as detectives combed the debris-strewn grass near the body of one of the victims, looking for shell casings and other evidence. "It's not getting any better in this city."

Another woman, who declined to give her name, said her 9-year-old son was playing in the park when he heard the gunfire and saw the body of one of the victims.

"He ran back home and said, 'Mommy, mommy, a man just got shot in the face,' " the woman said. "He ran right through the house and into the bathroom."

Earlier yesterday, Kenneth Metcalf, 16, of the 2100 block of Eagle St. was fatally wounded about 2:30 a.m. by a stray bullet as he sat in a lawn chair in the 2200 block of Wilkens Ave., a block from his home, police said.

Police said the youth was struck by one of several shots that were fired in the 2300 block of Wilkens Ave. A police spokeswoman said investigators did not know the reason for the shooting.

Officer Sabrina Tapp-Harper, a police spokeswoman, said the youth stood up, "announced that he was shot" and collapsed to the sidewalk.

Police said the youth, who was shot in the left side of his chest, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Investigators believe him to be an unintended victim," Officer Tapp-Harper said, adding that police interviewed six witnesses yesterday afternoon at police headquarters.

Monday night, a 36-year-old Glen Burnie man was shot to death on a Westport street. Police said Reno Owens of the 2400 block of Cedar Furnace Court was found lying on the pavement in front of a house in the 2400 block of Annor St.

Police said he had been shot in the head, neck and back and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Four other people were killed over the weekend, one Saturday night and three Sunday.

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