Two men have been arrested in a violent attack on a 73-year-old man on a downtown street in February, and police said yesterday they have linked one of the suspects to similar assaults against two others that month.
Latar C. Bradshaw, 22, was charged with robbery and conspiracy in connection with the Feb. 25 assault and robbery of Carl A. Schoettler, 73, a veteran Sun journalist.
Police said they have issued a warrant for Phillip M. Carter in connection with Schoettler's case. Carter, 18, has been in custody since Feb. 26 after he was arrested in West Baltimore by an off-duty police officer and charged with assaulting a 65-year-old man.
That attack occurred less than four hours after Schoettler had been assaulted, police documents show. Carter also has been charged with assaulting a 43-year-old man Feb. 20.
Col. Fred H. Bealefeld III, chief of detectives, credited investigators' efforts to "connect the dots" in the cases. In each incident, the victims were beaten, apparently in efforts to rob them.
An off-duty police officer arrested Carter shortly after the latest attack, which eventually led police to the mini-crime spree.
"He stomped three people," Bealefeld said, referring to the allegations against Carter. "It was an off-duty cop who ended Phillip Carter's crime spree. Hopefully, we get justice. We did our part."
The suspects, who both live in the first block of North Bruce Street in West Baltimore, are being held at the Central Booking and Intake Center. Their bail status could not be determined last night.
Schoettler, who suffered serious head injuries in the attack and has been in rehabilitation, offered praise for the lead detective, Charles J. Corbin Jr., for doing "extraordinary work." Schoettler said he hoped to return to work within a month.
Schoettler's work as a journalist has spanned more than 46 years at The Evening Sun and The Sun. He began his career in 1959, covered the Vietnam War and reported from Berlin and London and, later, on Baltimore life.
Charging documents show that the first assault and robbery in the alleged spree occurred Feb. 20. About 8 p.m., Robert Long, 43, had fallen asleep on a city bus and missed his stop. He got off at West Baltimore and North Gilmor streets to catch another bus when two men approached him from behind, a police report shows.
One man punched Long in the face, knocking him to the ground, as the other kicked him. The men stole Long's wallet, containing $60, and his cell phone. Carter was charged with robbery, assault, theft and conspiracy in that case; it could not be determined yesterday from court documents whether police have identified the second man connected to that assault.
Long regained consciousness after the attack, boarded a bus and went to work that night. But, still dizzy from his injuries, he left work, went to a hospital for treatment and filed a police report early the next day, police documents show.
Long could not be reached for comment.
Police said Schoettler was attacked five days later, about 8 p.m. Feb. 25.
The reporter stopped his car on Fayette Street in downtown Baltimore, a block from City Hall, to speak with the driver of a shuttle van after they were involved in a fender-bender, police documents show.
There were numerous bystanders on the street, with several people waiting at a nearby bus stop. Witnesses reported that two men waiting at the bus stop were yelling at Schoettler and the driver to fight.
Police charging documents said that there was a "small amount of physical contact" between Schoettler and the driver, Gregory Kulla. After they realized there was no damage to their vehicles, Schoettler walked back to his Nissan.
That's when one of the men at the bus stop - who had been yelling at Schoettler and Kulla to fight - suddenly rushed into the street and began beating Schoettler, police said.
Schoettler was knocked to the ground, and the man punched and kicked him in the head and upper body. One witness told police and The Sun that the man continued to kick and punch Schoettler several times, even after he lost consciousness.
Police charging documents allege that Bradshaw, who had been waiting at the bus stop with his young son, told Carter to go through Schoettler's pockets. At least $100 was taken from Schoettler after the assault, police charging documents show.
After the attack, police said the assailant, another man and a small boy - all three of whom had been waiting at the bus stop - stopped the van driver and asked him for a ride. Yesterday, police said that Bradshaw had his young son, possibly a 4-year-old, with him.
The van driver, who drove a shuttle service for a city strip club called Night Shift, gave the three people a ride to West Baltimore and dropped them off near West Fayette Street and North Fulton Avenue.
Police initially charged Kulla with making a false statement to police, accusing him of lying about being at the scene. But prosecutors dismissed the charge June 14.
Bealefeld said the reason for the dismissal was that the court commissioner initially allowed the wrong charge to be filed against Kulla. Police have said that they do not believe there is a connection between the van driver and the suspects.
Shortly after the attack, police used the city's network of surveillance cameras to track the shuttle van across downtown and into West Baltimore. But there were no cameras that recorded the attack, and a city police camera in West Baltimore near where the people were dropped off failed to record because it had malfunctioned, police officials said.
But later that same night, about midnight, off-duty police officer Paul McClain was driving west in the 1700 block of W. Baltimore St. when he saw two people wrestling on the sidewalk, police charging documents show.
At first, McClain thought he was watching two juveniles playing, the police report said. But as he got closer, he saw a man punching and kicking Johnny Johnson, 65, who blacked out, court records show. McClain arrested Carter, who was charged in the assault and attempted robbery, while Johnson was treated for severe facial injuries, court records show. Johnson could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Police recovered DNA evidence from Carter's coat that belonged to Johnson, according to court records. In Long's case, the victim identified Carter. And in Schoettler's case, police charging documents show that Carter confessed to the attack and implicated Bradshaw.
Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this article.