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Man hurt badly in shooting

August 29, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man was in critical condition this morning at Washington County Hospital after he and another man were shot Thursday night in front of Neighborhood Inn in Hagerstown, according to police and hospital officials.

Hagerstown police were trying this morning to track down the gunman and were investigating the circumstances of the shooting outside the tavern, which is at 139 N. Mulberry St.

Police are offering money for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman. The size of the reward depends on the type of information given. Callers can remain anonymous and give information. Anyone with information may call 301-790-3700, ext. 234.

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Tony Lamar Moorehead, 25, of the 600 block of North Prospect Street, had been shot at several times with one shot hitting him in the abdomen, police said. He was found lying on the sidewalk. Police said Moorehead required surgery.

George "Jamal" Smith, 30, of no fixed address, was found inside the tavern with a gunshot wound in one leg, police said.

Smith was treated at the hospital and released, according to police and a hospital spokeswoman.

The suspect is described as a black male 20 to 25 years old, about 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-6, and weighing about 180 pounds, police said. He was last seen wearing jeans, a ball cap and a dark-colored, short-sleeve T-shirt over a white short-sleeve T-shirt, police said.

At about 11:18 p.m., police were sent to the tavern, where they found two men with gunshot wounds, according to a police statement.

Moorehead had been talking to another man in front of the tavern with Smith nearby, police said. The unidentified man shot at Moorehead with a handgun several times, police said.

Lt. Rick Johnson said police were still trying to determine this morning whether Smith was meant to be a target.

Patrons inside the tavern said the sound of gunshots disrupted what many characterized as an otherwise uneventful evening.

"I heard a bunch of popping noises, like five or six pops," bar patron and East End resident Chris White said. "Then a (wounded) guy came running into the bar and locked himself in the women's bathroom."

Johnson identified that man as Smith.

Just after 11:30 p.m., one of the victims, wearing a white undershirt and baggy cargo pants, was taken on a gurney to an ambulance that would soon be on its way to the hospital. That man, identified this morning by police as Moorehead, was conscious, though he appeared dazed and was mumbling as he was lifted into the ambulance by emergency workers.

Meanwhile, police began marking off bullet shells, at least six, on the sidewalk and looked for additional clues in an alley next to the bar.

At the stroke of midnight, up to 10 police cruisers raced to the 100 block of East Franklin Street because an officer thought he spotted the suspect, but it turned out to be someone else, police said.

Officer Todd Dunkle saw a man walking in the first block of North Mulberry Street who matched the suspect's general description, according to a police statement.

When the man approached Dunkle, a plainclothes officer, the man spit something out of his mouth that was later identified as crack cocaine.

When police arrested a man there, nearby residents shouted, "They got the wrong guy." Several residents said they saw that man in the 100 block of East Franklin Street when they heard the faint sound of gunshots a couple blocks away.

Police said today the man arrested was charged in connection with drug possession. They said he is not a suspect in the shooting.

The man who was arrested is Larry Steven Cummings, 22, of 424 N. Locust St., Apt. 8. He was charged with possession of crack cocaine and possession of paraphernalia, police said.

Residents said the 100 block of North Mulberry Street has been fraught with violence in recent months.

White said he joked that such an incident would eventually occur because of what appears to be a decline in the safety of the neighborhood.

"I was telling my friend, 'I'm going to stop coming in here because somebody's gonna get shot one of these days," White said.

Several other residents gathered around the area of the bar, enclosed by police tape, echoed the sentiment of escalating problems there.

"Every day, there are problems here," said Dennis Easterday, who was in the bar prior to the shooting Thursday.

"This street is a really bad problem," said nearby resident Bonnie Brooks. "It's too close to home."




Staff writer Julie E. Greene contributed to this story.

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