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2 in parked car shot off-duty officer sees act; Incident on busy street that killed one is climax of violent surge in city


A Baltimore police officer on his way home from work watched as a gunman shot two people, one of them fatally, in a parked car near a major city thoroughfare at the start of yesterday's evening rush hour. Police said the officer shot the suspect after a brief foot chase.

The late afternoon gunfire on Pennsylvania Avenue near Martin Luther King Boulevard was the culmination of two days of violence that included the Thursday shootings of a clerk at a Korean grocery store and the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man during a dispute over a basketball fee.

Also Thursday, police found the body of Leon Melvin Elem, 19, lying face down at Edgewood Street and Forest Park Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. He had been shot several times. And in Northeast Baltimore, police said, the son of a city officer was wounded by gunfire during a street robbery.

The latest surge has left city officials grappling with violence again. On Thursday, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke offered another plan to help the beleaguered city by proposing more cooperation with state public safety officials to track repeat offenders and to have state police patrol dangerous neighborhoods.

"It's just senseless," said Detective Albert Marcus of the homicide unit, who investigated the basketball slaying. "These are kids killing kids. Nobody fights anymore. All they want to do is pull guns out and shoot each other."

The latest shooting yesterday occurred about 4: 45 p.m. Police said Officer William Cowley, 48, a 25-year veteran, was on his way home from the Western District station when he saw a man shoot into a car parked on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"The officer was in traffic and right in front of him, the shooting occurred," said Central District Officer Mark Lunsford. "He was just going home and he witnessed the shooting right before his eyes."

Police said the officer chased the gunman on foot around a corner and shot him. The two front-seat occupants of the car were struck; two small children in the back seat escaped injury. The driver sped to a Wendy's restaurant on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Anthony Bell, 25, of the 1300 block of S. Hanover St. in South Baltimore died last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Nicole McCormick, 23, of Pimlico was being treated at the same hospital for a gunshot wound to the arm and was in stable condition.

Michael White, 24, of the 100 block of Willow Bend Drive in Owings Mills was in critical condition last night at Shock Trauma. He will be charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder when he is discharged.

Also yesterday, a clerk at a Korean grocery store clung to life after she was shot in the chest in a botched robbery Thursday night about 6 p.m. The victim was identified as Won Hee Ma, 58, who works at the Homewood Food Market in the 700 block of E. 22nd St.

Police said two armed men burst into the market; one man forced the clerk's husband to the back, and another demanded money from her. Investigators said they do not know why Ma was shot; she said the gunmen ran from the store without taking money.

Ma was listed in critical but stable condition yesterday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Police said they knew of no suspects.

About 7 p.m. Thursday, Tavon Sherod, 20, of the 4400 block of Raspe Ave. was shot several times in the upper body with a large-caliber handgun during a dispute over $25 dues for a city-sponsored basketball league, police said. The shooting occurred in a playground outside the Chick Webb Recreation Center in the 600 block of N. Eden St. in East Baltimore.

Police have charged Donny Charles Harper, 20, of the 2400 block of Barclay St. in an arrest warrant with first-degree murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. He was being sought yesterday.

Pub Date: 1/25/97

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