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Former Renaissance student charged in West Baltimore gun battle that left him wounded, records show

A 19-year-old Baltimore man whom police say they found shot in the chest in a stolen car with a stolen handgun in his lap after a West Baltimore gun battle last week has since been charged with seven criminal counts in the incident, according to court records.

Donte Crawford, of the 800 block of Vine Street, is charged with four gun-related offenses and three counts related to the unauthorized taking of a vehicle, the court records show. He was ordered held on the charges Friday, according to court records, though he hasn’t yet made it out of the hospital.

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A spokeswoman for Maryland Shock Trauma Center confirmed that Crawford was still there Tuesday, upgraded to fair condition from serious condition. Given the charges against him, Crawford will be under guard and transferred to a correctional facility once it is determined he is healthy enough for the move, authorities said.

Crawford did not have an attorney listed in court records, and a previous attorney for him could not be reached for comment. Neither Crawford nor his family could be reached.

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Two sources familiar with the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the case candidly, confirmed to The Baltimore Sun last week that Crawford was the man shot in the Thursday incident.

Police had said a man was in serious condition after being found shot in the chest and unconscious in a stolen Dodge Neon — and with a stolen handgun in his lap — in the 1100 block of WestLanvale Street about 5:10 p.m. on Dec. 21.

A Baltimore man acquitted of first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of his 17-year-old high school classmate inside Renaissance Academy two years ago was shot in the chest in a gun battle in West Baltimore on Thursday, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

Crawford was acquitted by a jury last year of the murder of his Renaissance Academy classmate Ananias Jolley, 17, in a 2015 stabbing inside the Baltimore public high school. Crawford testified at his September 2016 trial that the stabbing was in self-defense.

His shooting on Thursday — which came two years and a day after Jolley’s death — spurred speculation that it might have been retaliatory in nature.

A jury has found Donte Crawford not guilty in the stabbing death of a Renaissance Academy classmate last November. (Baltimore Sun video)

Sources said detectives believe Crawford was exchanging gunfire with someone in a car that was chasing him before being shot in the chest in the exchange. Police said last week they had not determined a motive.

T.J. Smith, a police spokesman, said police “would obviously look at retaliation” as a possible motivation in the shooting because “retaliation is a big thing in many of the murders” in Baltimore.

“We say this often: Today’s suspect could be tomorrow’s victim. Today’s victim is yesterday’s suspect,” Smith said.

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