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Relatives of wounded dancer relieved over arrest in case They're angry at violence in city; victim paralyzed


Relatives of a New York dancer who was shot and paralyzed last month outside a downtown Baltimore hotel continued their hospital vigil yesterday, relieved that police had made an arrest, but angry at the city and its violence.

The parents of James Branford Pace, who was mugged while visiting the city to perform in a musical about Al Jolson at the

Lyric Theatre, have remained silent through their ordeal.

But a future in-law said Baltimore is one of the scariest cities he has visited.

"I feel safer in New York," said Issam Haddad, who is engaged to Pace's sister, Linda. "Of course, all I know about Baltimore is between the hotel and the [Johns Hopkins] hospital. I'm sure there are good parts, I mean, people live here. But I would say it's a pretty scary city."

Police said Tuesday night that they had arrested John C. Rogers, 30, of the 600 block of Pitcher St. in Upton and charged him with attempted first-degree murder, assault and armed robbery.

Rogers is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center. His next court date is Jan. 5. A woman at the Pitcher Street rowhouse said she knew nothing about Rogers, who according to court documents does not yet have a lawyer.

Police said they are looking for another person who they believe pulled the trigger and shot Pace in the left side of the neck when the 28-year-old New Yorker refused to hand over his wallet outside the Tremont Plaza Hotel on East Saratoga Street on Nov. 27, about 11: 30 p.m..

As Pace lay wounded on the sidewalk, two people rummaged through Pace's backpack and took his wallet, which contained $20, according to court documents. Pace identified a man from a photo lineup.

Pace, a native of North Carolina, was a lead dancer in the production "Jolson: The Musical," which ended a six-day run in Baltimore on Nov. 29. He has appeared on the public television show, "Live From Lincoln Center," and has appeared in productions of "State Fair," "My Fair Lady" and an off-Broadway play called "John Take it Easy."

Haddad said yesterday that Pace's career appears to be over. He is paralyzed from the chest down and has trouble moving his left arm. A bullet remains lodged in his neck as doctors contemplate their next step.

"He's not going to be able to go back to dancing," Haddad said. "It's very depressing. His whole life is gone. He will have to start over again. We're just hopeful that he can be independent, but it doesn't look good right now."

Pace was in fair condition yesterday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where a spokeswoman said his parents, H. C. and Carolyn Pace, did not wish to make any public comments.

The Actor's Fund of America has set up a bank account for donations. Barbara Davis, the fund's human service's director, said money has been pouring in for days, from $5 contributions from theatergoers to $1,000 checks from Broadway productions.

Pub Date: 12/10/98

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