A Westminster man riding with three friends on the outer loop of the Baltimore Beltway was shot in the back early yesterday in what state police say was an apparent case of road rage.
Antonio Santiago, 21, of the 600 block of Whispering Meadow Court was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he underwent surgery and was released, a hospital spokeswoman said.
State police said the incident began before 2 a.m. near the Cold Spring Lane interchange on Interstate 83 and ended at Interstate 795 and Owings Mills Boulevard.
Santiago and three occupants of a Honda Civic, all from Westminster, were traveling north on I-83, after spending the evening at the Have a Nice Day Cafe dance club downtown, when they got into a traffic altercation with the occupants of a maroon Mazda 626, said Jason Zaruba, 19, a passenger in the Honda.
The Mazda began tailgating the Honda, flashing its high beams, Zaruba said. He added, "We did the same thing to him after he passed us." Words were shouted between the cars, he said, and then Santiago threw one of his shoes at the Mazda.
The driver of the Mazda then followed the Honda Civic onto the outer loop of the Beltway.
As the cars passed Stevenson Road, the driver of the Mazda pulled up next to the Honda and fired six shots from a handgun, police said. The passengers in the Honda ducked, the driver accelerated to more than 100 mph and they lost sight of the Mazda, Zaruba said.
"I was so shocked, I didn't even comprehend it," he said. "You don't expect this."
Police said the driver of the Honda, Roger E. Kendrick, 22, of Westminster, called authorities on his cellular phone and said one of the passengers in his car had been shot. Kendrick headed north on I-795 to the Owings Mills Metro station where he waited for police to arrive.
Santiago was recuperating at home yesterday afternoon and declined to comment.
Kendrick, Zaruba and the other passenger, John M. Beal, 21, were unhurt.
Police said two men were in the Mazda, which had dark tinted windows. They had not made arrests in the case by last night.
Sun staff writers Brenda Buote and Stephen Kiehl contributed to this article.