Man charged with shooting friend in botched test of bulletproof vest

Three people stood in the basement of a Westport home before 4 a.m. Wednesday to film a stunt in which they planned to test a bulletproof vest. Darnell Mitchell put it on, looked into a video camera and proclaimed himself ready to take "deuce deuce in the chest."

But, police said, Mark Ramiro missed the body armor when he pulled the trigger on the .22 caliber handgun, and he now faces murder charges in the 28-year-old's death.

The video ends as Ramiro dropped the gun and both friends rushed to Mitchell's aid. They drove from Ramiro's apartment in the 2200 block of Cedley St. to University of Maryland Medical Center, where Mitchell was pronounced dead within minutes, police said.

Officers were called to the hospital around 4 a.m., police said. Detectives found the Cannon EO7 video camera in the basement and got a warrant for the footage, which showed the incident described in charging documents against Ramiro.

Ramiro's mother referred a reporter to his attorney, Christopher Flohr, who could not be reached Thursday night.

Ramiro faces first- and second-degree murder and two gun charges, police said.

A spokesman for the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office referred questions about the severity of the charges to the city court comissioner's office. Representatives there could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

The state's attorney's spokesman, Mark Cheshire, said city prosecutors had sought the second-degree murder charge, but the court commissioner imposed an additional first-degree charge. Asked why prosecutors sought the murder charge at all, Cheshire said only that, after an investigation, "we thought that was the appropriate charge."

In a separate case, a 40-year-old Baltimore man was charged Thursday with shooting a man in the leg and groin after the two got into a knife fight in the 800 block of N. Belnord Ave. in East Baltimore Tuesday night.

When a heated argument escalated between Nathaniel Jerome McElveen Jr. and the victim, who was not identified, the two pulled out pocket knives and began to fight, police said.

Nursing a cut to his head, McElveen retrieved an automatic .45 caliber handgun from his nearby home and shot the 33-year-old man twice, police said. The man knocked the gun from McElveen's hand, picked it up and hit McElveen with it, police said. The two continued to struggle as someone in a crowd of onlookers grabbed the gun and left the scene, police said.

Officers and medics were called to the scene, and both men were taken to the emergency room at Johns Hopkins Hospital. McElveen was treated for the cut on his head, and the second man awaits surgery on a fractured right femur, police said.

McElveen faces attempted first- and second-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and several gun charges, police said.

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