Feedback

Sword-wielding Hopkins student kills intruder, neighbors react

Garage where a sword-wielding student killed an apparent intruder was a frequent target of burglaries, neighbors say.

Neighbors say there have been many burglaries at this garage, where a sword-wielding Hopkins student killed an apparent intruder. (Photo by Fern Shen)

The blood was still bright and wet on the bricks this morning behind a Baltimore rowhouse where a samurai-sword-wielding Johns Hopkins University student, police say, killed a man he encountered in his garage. Out front, reporters were working the streets of this quiet neighborhood, a few blocks from campus, in search of information or comment.

Kenny Eaton hadn’t heard the screams, as some of his neighbors did, and he didn’t have any information. But, upon learning what happened, he had plenty of commentary.

“Awesome!” said Eaton, 20, a Hopkins political science major who was walking along East University toward the campus from his home a few blocks from the crime scene.

“I highly approve of that, if it’s a home defense situation,” said Eaton, a junior who apparently has read his Samuel P. Huntington. “You take students who are paying $50,000 a year and then put them in a dangerous city environment it’s almost like a clash of civilizations,” he said.

At the other extreme were the residents, like this one who asked not to be identified, who questioned whether the student was really threatened, since the intruder was not in the student’s residence but was outside, in a detached garage.

“I mean, I’d be on the phone calling 911, if it were me. Why was it necessary to go out there?” said the neighbor.

Nearly all the neighbors interviewed in the Oakenshawe neighborhood said they liked their normally quiet neighborhood, home to many students and Hopkins-related families, but that there had been a rash of car and garage break-ins lately.

East University Pkwy house where police say a Hopkins student wielding a sword killed an apparent intruder. (Photo by Fern Shen)

East University Pkwy. house where police say a Hopkins student killed an apparent intruder. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Police said the home is occupied by four Hopkins students whose rowhouse was burglarized on Monday and that two laptops and a Sony Playstation had been taken. Reports that the Monday burglary was by the same man who was later killed are premature, police spokesman Anthony Gugliemli said: “none of that is clear.”

The victim, whom police were not identifying pending notification of next-of-kin, lived in Baltimore and had 29 prior arrests mostly for breaking and entering and burglary, Gugliemi said. He had been arrested in Aug. 2008 for stealing a car in Baltimore city and was just released on Saturday from the Baltimore County Detention Center, police said.

(The Sun has sources identifying the student and the deceased man.)

According to Guglielmi, the student heard sounds and went downstairs armed with the sword. Upon seeing a side door to the garage open, he went in, Guglielmi said, and confronted the man who was “crouching under a counter.”

“The student asked the man to stay there …. but he lunged and, in a panic move, the student responded by striking the man with the sword and severed his left hand, and also cut his upper torso and neck,” Guglielmi said. Guglielmi also said the man “kind of forced the student against the wall.”

He said police received the call at about 1:20 a.m. and an off-duty city police officer and a university security officer came to the house, where they heard screaming and found the man “unresponsive” out back.

By mid-morning there were still pools of blood in the brick-paved back yard, as well as white evidence tags. Three young men sat on the front porch and declined to comment, while a police officer could be seen inside the three-story dwelling.

Michael Hughes, whose house is just a few feet from where the body was found, called police when he heard the commotion.
“I heard the screaming. I said to myself  ‘Mike, this is not normal,'” said Hughes, 43, who works at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “I could hear the fear in the voice.”

Afterwards, he said he watched a police officer carry the sword out to his car: “The whole thing was surreal and totally bizarre.”

“This neighborhood sees a lot of cross-through traffic,” said Susan Hughes. “We’ve had our car broken into three times this summer. I have little kids, this is just freaky.”

“I can’t tell you how many times that garage has been broken into, that garage is just easy access,” said another woman.

Yexuan Tao said her housemate’s car had been broken into twice this year and a GPS had been stolen. “This really, really surprises me,” said Tao, 34, who came to Hopkins from China a year ago as public health specialist and visiting scholar.

Baltimore back yard where police found an apparent intruder killed by a sword-wielding Johns Hopkins student.

Baltimore back yard where police found an apparent intruder killed by a sword-wielding Johns Hopkins student.

Hopkins officials had issued a warning to students yesterday because of the rash of recent break-ins in the area.

Today, a memo from Dean Susan Boswell alerted students to the incident and included this advice:

“…if you ever suspect that you there is a prowler in your residence or on your property, call 911 immediately. Experts advise that you do not attempt to confront the intruder, but rather secure yourself in a locked area until police arrive.”

Be sure to check our full comment policy before leaving a comment.

  • Pingback: Baltimore college news « ParkMosher

  • WildBillFan

    Guy had 29 priors for breaking and entering?? He had it coming. The DA better lay off this kid.

  • S. Reyes

    Totally agree with WildBillFan. The DA better not prosecute this kid because what message is that sending…that we can’t protect our bodies and property? Also, the suspect had 29 priors. He had no business being out on the streets. If there’s anyone else (besides himself) to blame for his demise, it’s the Baltimore criminal justice system for not keeping him in jail (where it would’ve been safer for everybody including himself).

  • S. Reyes

    Totally agree with WildBillFan. The DA better not prosecute this kid because what message is that sending…that we can’t protect our bodies and property?

    Also, the suspect had 29 priors. He had no business being out on the streets. If there’s anyone else (besides himself) to blame for his demise, it’s the Baltimore criminal justice system for not keeping him in jail (where it would’ve been safer for everybody including himself).

    So, I’m for the Hopkins dude on this one.

  • K. Sims

    Yes, he was a criminal with 29 offenses. But all 29 offenses were non-violent and he was unarmed. When did it become okay for private citizens to act as judge, jury and executioner?

    It’s wrong to steal but isn’t it worse to kill?

    I feel sorry for the Hopkins student and the robber. In the end they are both victims. Now this student who is most likely pursuing a career based on sustaining life will have to live with the fact that he unjustly took a life.

  • http://thealligator.wordpress.com/ Eric

    “You take students who are paying $50,000 a year and then put them in a dangerous city environment it’s almost like a clash of civilizations,” he said.

    Dear Mr. Eaton,

    You surely don’t mean to suggest that since Hopkins students pay $50,000 a year (while using publicly funded amenities, not to mention enjoying excellent cultural venues in Baltimore) they have the right to kill people (read: poor people) with impunity, do you? That “logic” is both ridiculous and offensive. If he had killed another Hopkins student with a sword, what would you say then? Actually don’t answer that question, just leave the city, please, as soon as possible.

    Thanks,

    -e.

  • Ana

    Yes Eric-

    Thats obviously what Mr. Eaton meant in his response, people paying ridiculous amounts of money for school should be able to kill poor people. Thanks for pointing that out.

    -Ana

  • Usha Nellore

    All the glee surrounding this poor man’s death astounds me. Looks like he was a lost soul–a drifter who had no skills to make a living and who didn’t know how to turn his life around. The student too is a lost soul now. Even if he rationalizes the incident as self defense, committed to save his own life, he will for ever be haunted by the bloody spectacle of the man he could have avoided killing if he had stayed locked up in his home rather than outside near his garage, sword in hand, looking for an intruder. The shadow of this incident will chase the young man. The killing will add no kudos to his CV, his biography will always be stained and he could be asked about this in the future by potential employers and others. He also has to spend a mint to defend himself and I can only imagine the anguish his parents feel for what has come to pass in their son’s life. Same for the relatives of the intruder unless of course he was a destitute. We are all diminished by this incident particularly when we refuse to see the long term legal, emotional, familial and career implications for the killer. His scholastic pursuits will certainly suffer and I am not too sure JHU will take kindly to having a sword wielding killer as a student in their midst. I wouldn’t be surprised if the institution suspends him if he is charged in this killing. A tragedy all the way around.

  • P. G.

    “a clash of civilizations?”

    dude we all live in the same city. try to get out more…

  • http://thealligator.wordpress.com/ Eric

    Ana,

    I’m not sure if your response was sarcastic – one of the downfalls of print is the lack of tone. Anyway, a friend of mine read Mr. Eaton’s statement differently, and didn’t infer any class-war sentiment. I, however, can’t help but read his comment as a manifestation of an egregious class-oriented bias – one that is all too common. What does the student’s expensive tuition have anything to do with his right to defend himself, violently if needed? Don’t we all have that right, if cornered? If this happened at a less expensive school, would Mr. Eaton still be delighted (as he weirdly seemed to be) that one of the “good guys” finally killed (killed!) one of the “bad” ones? Note, I’m not saying that violently defending oneself is categorically wrong (in fact, I’m saying the opposite), but I can’t see how anyone could look at this situation and be happy about it, unless it’s deemed a victory (for rich people, of course)in the class war.

  • S. Reyes

    Obviously Mr. Eaton is talking in hyperbole which is one reason why his statement sounds so offensive to people with more refined sensibilities. Whatever he said probably shouldn’t be taken seriously and should just be ignored.

    Having said that, it seems the bigger issue in this “clash of civilizations” faux pas statement is how there is a huge gap between the well-off and the underprivileged in Baltimore City. Sure P.G., we all live in the same city, but we all do not live in the same way now, do we?

    Travel the City from one end to another and you will see the stark contrast between the multi-million dollar condos on the Inner Harbor and the decrepit rowhouses on the West-side. On the one end, you have people like Michael Phelps and Jenna Bush Hager living there and on the extreme end, you have people like Donald D. Rice — this “drifter” who probably found no other means of living except to take from others. Tell me if that is not a “clash of civilizations.”

    I grew up in a third-world country in Asia so I am hardly new to or shocked by these stark social and economic contrasts. What I find almost unforgivable is the fact that such a reality exists in America, the supposed greatest nation in the world.

    Sure, the fact that one man killed another man and somebody like Mr. Eaton had to say it was “awesome” is a tragedy. However, I think the greater tragedy is that something like this incident must happen at all because the economic and social disparities are just too great in Baltimore City; because life is not more equitable for many who live here.

    I’ve lived in Baltimore for two years and I wish this situation and certain other things would change –- one of them being the seeming propensity of the City’s public officials to ignore real problems and get distracted by diversions such as the Mayor stealing gift cards or some shit like that.

    So, as this whole country is hopefully working towards and holding its collective breath for CHANGE, we must do the same here in Baltimore. As they say, it takes a whole village or in our case, a whole City.

  • http://n/a Patsy

    TEXAS: A 73-yr.old, disabled man, on his own property defended himself against a 50-yr. old. Displayed a knife.

    The 50-yr. old was NOT seriously injured. He went to the hospital but was NOT admitted. The 50-yr. old had multiple charges and arrests – BUT – the Judge would not allow the jury to hear the 50-yr. old’s past history.

    The 73-yr. old is serving 2-yrs. for ‘Displaying a Deadly Weapon’.

    Judges are very powerful people!!! The student may have some difficult times ahead????

  • Ashley

    In response to K.Sims: we shouldn’t totally be allowed to act as judge, jury, and executioner BUT I think there would be alot fewer break ins of this sort if you knew you were putting your life on the line just steal a GPS out of someone’s car. I think the message sent in this article is fair. Did he deserve to die? NO but hopefully others will learn from his story.

  • http://thealligator.wordpress.com/ Eric

    You really think this incident is going to deter crime? You really think someone’s going to go after a GPS, stop, and think, “oh, wait, maybe the person who owns this has a sword”? … Really?

  • Sensei Hoshino

    Since there was a human being killed, I give the strong condolences to the deceased person’s family.

    Human beings were slaughtered by such blades during the Sengoku Era ( Japanese Civil Wartime: 1467 – 1591 ); however, this is the modern age, the 21st Century. Therefore, in this era, nobody should be killed by the sword or sword-related weapon. We should not glorify any type of killing for the respect of the deceased person.

    A message from a practitiner of Tameshi-giri ( Test cutting ) and Ken-jitsu ( Japanese sword fighting skills ) in San Francisco, California

  • Sensei Hoshino

    Since there was a human being killed, I give the strong condolences to the deceased person’s family.

    Human beings were slaughtered by such blades during the Sengoku Era ( Japanese Civil Wartime: 1467 – 1591 ); however, this is the modern age, the 21st Century. Therefore, in this era, nobody should be killed by the sword or sword-related weapon. We should not glorify any type of killing for the respect of the deceased person.

    A message from a practitioner & Sensei of Tameshi-giri ( Test cutting ) and Ken-jitsu ( Japanese sword fighting skills ) in San Francisco, California

More of the Daily Drip »

Below the Fold

  • December 15, 2014

    •   “Ha ha, so not a surprise.” “Shocking…not!!” We get applause but also the occasional eye-roll these days for our accountability reporting – like last week’s piece about how tax cuts promised by the mayor as a selling point for Horseshoe Baltimore probably won’t happen, thanks to the casino’s lower-than-expected revenues. We get where the […]

Twitter

Facebook