Shooting downtown scatters passers-by Purse vendor suffers graze wound to head


A shooting at an outdoor bookstand in front of the Mechanic Theatre yesterday sparked a brief scuffle and chase on a crowded downtown plaza near Charles Center.

A gunshot about 11: 45 a.m. disrupted the lunchtime routine for office workers and people attending an architecture convention. Lamar Knight, 27, of Pigtown suffered a graze wound to his head. He was treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center and released yesterday.

Bystanders reported a scramble, but no panic, when the shot was fired in the 100 block of W. Baltimore St. Witnesses said it was clear that Knight was the target.

Knight didn't collapse when shot. Instead he sat with his back against a pillar and waited for an ambulance.

"I think he was stunned more than anything," said Dave #i Wisniewski, an electrical worker who was leaving a nearby federal office building moments after the shooting.

Police said the dispute was between a book vendor's son and Knight, who hawks purses at another stand and who had accused the vendor's son of stealing a jacket.

Theo Anthony Bishop, 22, of the 2000 block of Oak Drive in Woodlawn was charged in a warrant with attempted murder. He was being sought yesterday. Detectives recovered a 9 mm Ruger semiautomatic handgun from a bush near a ticket window at the Baltimore Arena.

The crime scene drew dozens of onlookers, unaccustomed to seeing yellow police tape blocking a heavily used downtown plaza.

Joan Anderson, a Lochearn resident for 25 years, walks by the makeshift stand -- dozens of books spread over three card tables -- every workday. She disputed police statistics released Wednesday that show a 20 percent drop in violent crime in Baltimore.

"The child who is lying in the hospital after being shot inside her own home isn't feeling safe," said Anderson, referring to a 9-year-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet this week while watching television in her living room.

Maryann Ondovcsik of New York City, who was in town for the architecture convention, said her city brought down its violent crime rate through zero-tolerance policing, a practice that Baltimore's police commissioner is reluctant to implement.

"How ironic that here I am in the Hilton Hotel in downtown Baltimore and I can walk outside and see a shooting that makes me feel like I'm right at home," said Ondovcsik, who works at New York University.

Pub Date: 4/18/97

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