Two shot in city

June 25, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

Two people, a man and a woman, were shot on East Franklin Street Tuesday night, and Hagerstown City Police were interviewing witnesses as they tried to figure out who was responsible, Lt. Rick Johnson said.

The man had been shot in the torso and was expected to be admitted to the hospital, Police Chief Arthur Smith said.

The woman, who was shot in the leg, was expected to be treated at Washington County Hospital and released, Smith said.


Smith said "early indications were it (the shootings) may be over a girl," but he said police were still trying to piece together information from witnesses.

No further information about the victims, including their identities, was available.

Descriptions of the suspect were conflicting, but Smith said the description he had was of a black male, 18 to 21 years old with a light complexion. He said police were told the shooter was wearing a white T-shirt and a white do-rag, or handkerchief, on his head.

Shortly after the 9:28 p.m. shooting in the 100 block of East Franklin Street several dozen people, including teenagers and younger children, gathered around the area bordered by yellow police tape.

Many of them said they did not see or hear anything, but had come to see what was going on.

A woman dressed in a nightgown and interviewed by police declined to comment.

When a friend tried to get her attention, she said "Wait a minute. I've got to get this blood off me."

The woman went into an apartment building.

Police roped off about half a block of East Franklin Street with police tape, which extended, at some points, into residents' backyards and into the parking lot of Otterbein United Methodist Church.

Police officers used flashlights to scan the sidewalk in front of 127 E. Franklin St., and later a driveway near 140 E. Franklin St.

One police officer told another to keep people off the stretch of sidewalk near 127 E. Franklin St. At one point 13 people, including five young children, were hanging out on the stoop.

J.J. Smith, 52, who said he lives in the neighborhood, said he expects the rest of the summer to be similar to Tuesday night.

"It's the heat of the night as they say," J.J. Smith said. "They're going to keep the cops busy this summer."

Some neighbors said they recently moved into the area and, after the shootings, planned to move again.

Jocelyn Simpson, 46, and her daughter, Sabrina Chestnut, 22, had just returned from Meda's Tavern to see police near the homes they had recently moved into, the two said.

"I'm about to move. I want to get away from this," said Chestnut, who said she moved there 3 1/2 months ago.

Simpson said she moved across the street from her daughter on June 1.

"I didn't even like this street," Simpson said.

Pamela Johnson, 29, said the shootings occurred close to her home, which was about four doors down from the cordoned off area.

Johnson said she heard what seemed like a lot of shots.

"It's enough to make me move because I've got kids," Johnson said.

Thomas Johnson, 22, said he was concerned for the kids' safety.

"Now that school is out we have a lot of young kids running around the streets late at night," said Thomas Johnson, who was sitting on Pamela Johnson's stoop. Johnson said he didn't live there, but was hanging out with friends.

Richard Guessford, 29, of North Mulberry Street, said he wished there were more crime watch groups and bicycle patrol officers in the neighborhood.

Ben Fisher, 42, who said he lives on North Mulberry Street near where the shooting took place, said he heard what he thought were fireworks, but then realized they were gunshots.

"It's not even safe in the daytime to walk the streets, that's how bad it's getting around here," he said.

Fisher, who said he has lived on North Mulberry for 13 years, said he had never before seen anything like Tuesday night's shooting in his neighborhood.

Staff writer Pepper Ballard contributed to this story.

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