Two 17-year-olds admitted in Baltimore juvenile court yesterday that they were involved with an attempt to rob an off-duty police officer in Federal Hill in November.
One admitted to first-degree assault and attempted armed robbery before Master Gregory Sampson. His punishment will be determined at a hearing July 8. The other admitted to second-degree assault; his punishment will be determined in December.
Both had originally been charged as adults, but the cases were sent to juvenile court - a decision that has angered many city officers who believed that the boys should have stayed in the adult system, where penalties are stiffer. Several officers attended the juvenile hearing yesterday.
The youth who admitted to first-degree assault said little in court, but his attorney, Jack B. Rubin, said that he is an honor roll student and that his behavior since the attempted robbery has been "outstanding." His guardian said in court that she was "shocked" her grandnephew was involved. She declined to speak with a reporter after the hearing.
The other youth wore a dark suit for his court appearance. His mother said he was "doing well," but Sampson warned him that spending idle time with relatives could negatively affect his behavior.
The attempted robbery occurred when Sgt. Christopher D. Nyberg, who was in plain clothes and not on duty, was walking home along the 1400 block of Belt St. about 3:40 a.m. Nov. 25 and four young males confronted him. The youth who pleaded guilty to first-degree assault held a knife to the sergeant's throat and then lunged at him with the weapon, according to court testimony.
Nyberg got free and shot him, according to the testimony.
The youth who pleaded guilty to second-degree assault got into a van and drove toward Nyberg, who fired at him. The youth drove away, but then crashed the van, according to testimony. He was treated for gunshot wounds and injuries from the crash.
Two others suspects, Gary Thomas, 19, and Travis Thomas, 17, were arrested and charged as adults when they came to visit the two wounded 17-year-olds at the hospital, according to testimony. Their cases are pending.