Riders are growing edgy about the Central Light Rail line since a South Baltimore woman was shot Monday, but they lament that they have no other way to get around.
"There's nothing you can do but hope for the best [and] pray before you leave home," Mildred Kane, 71, said yesterday. She rides light rail most days from her Druid Hill home to work as a domestic in Anne Arundel County.
On Monday, Rosalynn R. Jukes, 28, of the 1200 block of West Ostend St. in Baltimore was shot in the right shoulder as she napped on the train between the North Linthicum and Ferndale stops in Anne Arundel County. She was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was treated and released.
Mrs. Jukes said she may not go back to her job at a Glen Burnie restaurant because she doesn't want to ride the light rail again.
"It's not safe no matter what you're doing. It's a shame. You try to make a living, and someone does this," she said.
Horace B. McQuay Jr., 23, of Brooklyn Park was charged with attempted murder in connection with what Anne Arundel County police described as a bizarre and random shooting.
"It was totally unprovoked," Assistant State's Attorney Patrick Bell said. Mr. McQuay was arrested the day of the shooting after police identified him from film from a security camera on the train. Each of the 35 light rail cars has four cameras that were installed Sept. 1.
Mrs. Jukes boarded the train at 8 a.m. at Lexington Market. It was nearly empty when it pulled out of the North Linthicum station. Mrs. Jukes was one of two passengers in the back of the last car. She was dozing.
"That's when I heard a big bang like something hit the train," she recalled yesterday. "I didn't know what happened. It felt like someone threw something at me. It didn't feel like a gun shot."
She asked the passenger, a young man, to help her. But then she saw his 9 mm handgun pointed at her face and chest.
"I said, 'Please don't shoot me,' " she recalled. "I thought I was going to die."
The gunman said he didn't mean to shoot her and told her he wouldn't shoot again if she wouldn't tell anyone until the train reached the Cromwell Field station in Glen Burnie. As the train stopped at Ferndale, the gunman fled. Mrs. Jukes then pushed an emergency button.
Mr. McQuay is being held without bond in the Anne Arundel County Jail and has been ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation. Mass Transit Administration officials say the shooting was the first violent incident on the Central Light Rail since security initiatives started in June 1994. That is not comforting to riders. They want a greater police presence.