Shots fired near city playground

August 06, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

HAGERSTOWN - Gunshots rang out Thursday evening just a few blocks from the site of a Wednesday shooting off Jonathan Street that sent a New York City man to the hospital.

Hagerstown Police Department investigators called to the 400 block of Park Place for reports of gunfire at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday found several shell casings within feet of a playground and basketball court and bullet holes in two houses.

Sgt. Elmer "Jim" Hurd said investigators confirmed at least four shots were fired in the 400 block of Park Place. Hurd said witnesses told investigators that two men exchanged gunfire in the street and sidewalk area, but he said it appeared there was only one shooter.


He said no one was injured in the shooting.

Hurd said no arrests were made in the Thursday shooting, and a man who was taken into custody on a nearby porch was wanted on an unrelated warrant.

Stray bullets struck two houses, at 48 and 52 Charles streets, that were 100 to 200 yards away from the reported exchange, Hurd said.

Directly across the narrow street from where some of the bullet casings were found is a basketball court, several swings and a playground set with slides.

"Shooting, with all these kids out there, it's just ridiculous" said Cecil Green, a Jonathan Street resident whose back yard faces Park Place.

One woman, who would not give her name because she feared retribution, said she began crying when she heard the shots because her son had just left her apartment to go to the store.

Wednesday's shooting

At about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Arnold M. Davis, of New York City, was wounded when a man got out of a car in an alley, behind the Washington County Administration Building, and fired at him several times with a .45-caliber handgun, police said.

Davis was released Thursday from Washington County Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Several people who live near the site of the Thursday shooting said there have been escalating problems with repeat drug activity in the area.

"This is just the way Park Place has gone," Green said. "They've cleaned up Jonathan Street, but now they're over here. It's like the cops have no control."

On Wednesday, before the shooting, Hagerstown Police Department Chief Arthur Smith lauded surveillance cameras as a crime deterrent that "gave a lot of peace to people on Jonathan Street."

Smith said he did not believe the cameras were causing increased criminal activity in other parts of the city.

Sgt. Curtis Wood said one man was taken into custody shortly after the Wednesday evening shooting. Wood said the man, whose name was not released, had not been charged by Thursday afternoon, but was being held without bail at the Washington County Detention Center on outstanding warrants issued in Washington County and Cumberland, Md.

"He isn't going anywhere," Wood said. "We're going to take our time and do everything the right way."

According to court records, the man failed to appear at a May 25 Washington County Circuit Court hearing on two counts of manufacture/distribution of cocaine and one count each of possession of, possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Wood said a second man is wanted for questioning in the Wednesday shooting. He described him as a black man, about 6 feet tall, with a thin build and short black hair.

Anyone with information on either shooting may contact police at 301-790-3700.

The Herald-Mail Articles