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Woman's struggle with squeegee kids ends with gunfire in South Baltimore

Posted at 2:17 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 19:20:38-04

BALTIMORE — A physical struggle between a woman and a group of squeegee kids ended with a gunshot.

It happened just after 2 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Martin Luther King and Washington Boulevards in South Baltimore.

A woman called police and reported her gun went off after a group of squeegee kids surrounded and began reaching into her car while stopped at a light.

The woman told police the group first sprayed her windshield.

According to a police report, the group allegedly became very aggressive, and began demanding money, and damaging the car with the squeegee.

The victim told officers the group refused to move, and there was no way to drive off without running them over.

Out of fear, the woman told police she reached into her purse and grabbed a registered handgun, while still asking them to leave.

One of the suspects then reportedly reached into the car and grabbed the woman's wrist, she was holding the gun with.

After a struggle, the gun fired into the passenger seat of the victim's vehicle, causing the group to flee.

Police say they were unable to find anyone in the group.

In their report, the officer wrote the victim had all proper permits to carry the gun.

The incident is the latest of many involving squeegee kids in Baltimore.

In December of last year, two squeegee kids were arrested on assault charges that also allegedly occurred on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Two months earlier, a man claimed a group shattered his windshield near Hamburg and Russell Streets.

Around the same period of time, the Baltimore Partnership placed unarmed guards to monitor the groups after receiving multiple complaints about squeegee kids at intersections along President to Pratt Street and Conway between Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor.

Squeegeeing has also posed safety risks to the kids doing it, as last October, a video captured one being struck by a car near President and Pratt.

The groups actions in the past have even drawn rebukes from Mayor Jack Young and former Mayor Catherine Pugh.

"Some folks have said that they don't even want to ride through downtown anymore," Young said at a June 2019 board of estimates meeting ."I don't want to hear that. I want people to feel that Baltimore City is a welcoming city for tourists and for people who work here. People who live here should not be subject to bad behavior by anyone."

In January 2018, Pugh was seen on video scolding a squeegee kid she caught skipping school.

"Why are you not in school? Why are you on the street? I'm the mayor. Why are you not in school? Why are you not in school?" Pugh told the student. "Get off the corner, go to school! Now!" Pugh said at the time.

In response to the issue, both Young and Pugh in the past have worked to create ways to help the squeegee kids.

Just last month, Young introduced the Squeegee Alternative Plan, a million dollar investment that the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success will oversee, to get kids off the streets and into a more stable economic situation through a mentor-focused program.

For her part, Pugh held pop up car washes for the squeegee kids to work safely and legally while earning money.

In June, while at a crime walk, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said he believes the problem would go away if people stopped rolling down their window and giving money.

"One thing is if people stop giving them money, that problem will go away," said Harrison.

Councilman Eric Costello, who was also at the walk agreed and said he would be looking at potential legislation for stricter panhandling laws.