Gunman's target escapes unhurt

February 25, 1997


Staff Writer

The target of a shooting in the 400 block of Park Place in Hagerstown Tuesday morning dodged bullets as he ran from his assailants, and finally escaped uninjured.

It was the second time in as many months that Antonio Leon Mooney, 22, was a gunman's target. On Dec. 20, his assailant didn't miss.

On that occasion, Mooney was hit twice by shots fired from a small-caliber weapon as he stood in the rear parking lot at 920 W. Washington St.


Hagerstown police said Mooney, who is originally from Prince George's County, Md., has been staying in Hagerstown. They had no address for him.

On Tuesday, Mooney was walking on the sidewalk in the 400 block of Park Place at 11:53 a.m. when a car with several people inside drove past him, stopped and backed up, Hagerstown police said.

Witnesses described it as a small, white car.

Police said a black male got out of the car and chased Mooney through a Park Place yard, firing at him with a 9mm handgun as they ran.

Mooney ran into a home on North Jonathan Street, and the gunman and those with him fled in the car.

One of the bullets fired at Mooney went through the back door of the house at 440 N. Jonathan St. and lodged in a kitchen cabinet, police said.

People in the home at the time were not injured, police said.

Three shell casings were found in the back yard of the house, they said.

The motive for the shooting was under investigation, police said.

About three hours after the shooting, officers stopped a car they thought might have been involved in the shooting incident. They let the female occupants go after searching the vehicle.

"That car was not the one involved in the shooting," an officer said later.

Where children play

Tuesday's shooting occurred in a residential area of the city, where resident Don Jones said children play.

Jones said he was in his Park Place home when he heard the gunfire. He said it wasn't the first time.

"Living around here, you hear gunshots," he said. "But this sounded like it was right outside my door. It was an automatic - a rapid-fire type thing. I'm not sure how many shots I heard. It could have been three or four."

Jones said he looked out the window and saw a small, white car back up, and then speed away up Park Place toward Charles Street.

"The police were on the scene very quickly," he said.

Jones the violence concerned him because of the children who play in his neighborhood.

"Some people don't want to get involved, but I'm one of those people who calls police when something happens," he said. "We're trying to keep this neighborhood straight."

"Most of the trouble we have here is in the projects, not in the houses up here," he said. "When we hear gunfire, usually it's late at night when it happens."

Jones, who is recreation director for the Boys' Club on Pennsylvania Avenue, said he isn't afraid to be in the neighborhood where he's lived for six years.

"I have another job," he said. "I'm a bounty hunter for a bail bondsman. I guess the excitement doesn't bother me as much."

Jones said police cars frequently patrol the neighborhood and respond quickly to calls of trouble there.

Earlier injuries

A witness to the Dec. 20 shooting described seeing Mooney talking to someone in a car, then hearing several gunshots before the car sped away.

Mooney was admitted to the intensive care unit at Washington County Hospital, and recovered from his injuries.

Lt. Barbara Bartley of the Martinsburg (W.Va.) Police Department said a Martinsburg man was later charged in the shooting. She did not know if the case has gone to trial.

Bartley said that on Nov. 16, Mooney was injured in a fracas at the corner of Raleigh and Ray streets in Martinsburg when he was hit in the head with a real estate sign. He was hospitalized for head injuries, Bartley said.

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