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Charges for armed teen arrested at Patterson High

Malik Omar Bell suspected in shooting last week
Posted at 12:42 PM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 17:31:46-05

BALTIMORE — A teen wanted in a shooting spotted inside Patterson High School, and Baltimore City school police have to move quickly.

"Our officers assumed that he was armed, but they wanted to take him into custody," said the president of the school police union, Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, who adds by law, the officers couldn't arm themselves unless the teen suspect not only produced a gun, but also started shooting.

Fortunately, it never came to that.

"Once he was in cuffs, the officers searched him, which is protocol, and found the firearm inside his waistband," said Boatwright.

Officers secured the semi-automatic handgun, and we are learning more now about what police knew then about the threat posed by 16-year-old Malik Omar Bell.

Just a week earlier, in an alley behind the 5000 block of Truesdale Avenue in Northeast Baltimore, Bell allegedly gunned down a female victim.

City police would later tell us that the woman was not the intended victim even though she somehow survived 10 separate gunshot wounds.

"The young lady was shot in the face and then allegedly the shooter stood over the top of her and fired more... multiple times after that," said Boatwright.

It's not the kind of suspect any officer would choose to pursue unarmed, even though last year's shooting at Frederick Douglass High School had produced a call to allow school officers to carry handguns that ultimately grew silent with inaction.

City school police say members of the local delegation in Annapolis balked at the optics of having armed officers in the schools and worried students would be intimidated, but with 28 guns recovered in the schools over the last four years, Boatwright says he's more worried about both officer and student safety.