Park shooting not random, police say

The Baltimore Sun

The shooting of a young woman at a popular Baltimore County park Wednesday morning was not a random attack, county police said yesterday in announcing that a suspect has been arrested.

Sirlilar "Juelz" Stokes, 19, who police say was acquainted with the victim, was charged with attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Ashley Davis, 18, a dancer at the Two O'Clock Club on The Block in Baltimore, police said. Stokes, of the 4800 block of Briarclift Road in the city, frequented the club that features exotic dancers, police said.

The shooting of Davis in the back of the head at Robert E. Lee Park "was not a random act. This was a targeted act," said Cpl. Michael Hill, a county police spokesman. "This is not an incident that would normally take place" in the park.

Police think the women left the club in the 400 block of E. Baltimore St. and drove to the park together but don't know if the victim went willingly, Hill said. Police are unsure why the women were in the park or if a disagreement arose. Hill said that while Stokes was known to be member of the Bloods gang, police do not believe the shooting was gang-related.

Davis showed up about 5 a.m. Wednesday at the Royal Farms convenience store in the 6000 block of Falls Road near Lake Avenue, just north of the city line, bleeding and partially clad, police said. A store employee called police, who learned little other than Stokes' nickname - "Juelz" - and the location of the shooting from Davis, Hill said.

Police used the nickname to identify Stokes, and further investigation led them to believe she was the shooter, Hill said.

Stokes pleaded guilty last year to a drug charge in Baltimore and received a two-year sentence, with all but two days suspended, court records show. Other drug and assault charges against her last year and this year were dismissed, according to court records.

Police believe Davis' shorts fell off while she was walking approximately a half-mile from where she was shot in the park to the Royal Farms, and there is no indication of sexual assault, Hill said. The park, north of the store off Falls Road, surrounds Lake Roland and features miles of jogging and hiking trails and is popular among dog walkers.

Dawna Cobb, a Charles Village resident who has run in the park for years and considers it one of her favorite places, said she wasn't surprised when she learned the shooting was not a random occurrence.

"Right from the beginning, it struck me as a story that had some sort of back story to it," she said.

Cobb, assistant dean for student affairs and law lecturer at the University of Maryland School of Law, said the park is a safe place that just happened to be the location of a crime.

"I think it's really a horrible thing that happened, but I don't think the park is a dangerous place for runners at 6 in the morning or 6 in the evening or any time during the day," she said. "I hate to think that people would just become really paralyzed by this and stop going there. I don't think what happened is reflective of the safety of the park."

Davis remained in critical condition yesterday at Sinai Hospital, and her condition has prevented police from conducting thorough questioning, Hill said. Police declined to release Davis' address because of concerns for her safety.

Police don't know of a motive for the shooting, Hill said. "We don't have a clear picture of what happened that night, yet," he said.

He declined to discuss the gun involved in the shooting.

Baltimore police arrested Stokes Wednesday night near the Two O'Clock Club.

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