Thanks to an alert reader of this blog for the heads up:
May 23, 2007
First they told police they were shot during a gas station robbery.
they told detectives they had a friend shoot them in the legs as a
avoid the initiation rite of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Morgan
Now, a third story has emerged that one of the two wounded men —
Briggs, a member of the Maryland National Guard — might have
shooting to avoid military duty in Iraq.
Darren Jackson, a Morgan senior and a member of the fraternity,
other wounded man, Philip Anderson, had told him that Briggs had
the shooting as a way to avoid being deployed to Iraq with the
Guard. “I guess because they were friends, because they were boys
Jersey, he didn’t want to see his friend go to Iraq,” Jackson said.
He said Anderson had called Monday to apologize for besmirching the
The National Guard, for its part, says Briggs was in no imminent
It is the latest twist in a double-shooting last week that has left
Omega Psi Phi fraternity infuriated and has had police chasing
Briggs, 20, of Plainfield, N.J., was arrested Monday and charged with
handgun violations and making a false police report in connection
shooting late Wednesday or early Thursday that landed him and
Anderson, 22, in the hospital with minor gunshot wounds to the
their right legs.
When the story Briggs and Anderson told — of being held up at a
Baltimore Hess station — unraveled in the face of security-camera
that showed they weren’t there, the pair changed their account.
the men alleged that they had asked a part-time Morgan senior, Xavier
Marshall, 24, to shoot them in the 1600 block of Arlington Ave.
according to Detective Sgt. Greg Robinson.
Police said two .380-caliber shell casings were found at the site
Police have arrest warrants out for Marshall and Anderson,
Neither they nor Briggs could be reached for comment yesterday.
After obtaining what they regarded as confessions, police summoned
news media Friday to explain the young men’s startling motive:
“After interrogating the victims, it was determined that both were
State University students pledging for a fraternity, and it was
they didn’t wish to go through their initiation,” said lead
Marcus at the news conference. “And to get out of the initiation, they
plotted a shooting with each other.”
Police declined to name the fraternity, but the department’s public
relations spokesmen joked with television news reporters at the news
conference about the fraternity supposedly involved: the “Qs” or “Q-
the nickname for Omega Psi Phi, a 95-year-old historically black
Police sources later confirmed the fraternity named by the shooting
Morgan officials said they were immediately skeptical of the pair’s
They said they doubted that a tiny fraternity chapter known for its
community service activities — and with only nine active members on a
campus with a no-hazing policy — could inspire such an extreme
Also, the statement the police extracted had too many holes, they
one, Briggs had never enrolled at Morgan, said Recardo Perry, vice
for student affairs. Anderson was a full-time student, but his low
did not qualify him for fraternity membership, university officials
And finally, there is no summer pledging — or “intake” — at the
historically black college’s fraternal organizations.
“I believe that Morgan State University had our back with this
said Jackson, a senior from Long Island, N.Y. “But I’m upset that
not only dragged my organization into this, but also put Morgan
the weekend of graduation, when we have very prominent alumni in
.. in a negative light.”
Jackson and Anderson were acquaintances, and the latter had informally
expressed interest in Omega Psi Phi but was not a pledge, Jackson
for the alleged shooter, Xavier Marshall, Jackson said he had never
A spokesman for the Maryland Military Department confirmed
Briggs was an enlisted private assigned to the Soldier Readiness
at Camp Fretterd near Reisterstown.
Briggs was a no-show May 15 for the start of about eight weeks of
individual training,” said spokesman Quentin Banks.
After completing basic training — which Briggs had done last year
advanced individual training, guardsmen are eligible for deployment
overseas, But Briggs was in no danger of being deployed anywhere
Dundalk, where the 1st Battalion of the 175th Infantry Regiment is
Many in that battalion will be deployed Friday to Fort Dix, N.J. —
to a year in Iraq — but because Briggs hadn’t completed the necessary
training, he would have stayed behind in Dundalk for the year,
Instead, Briggs was shot.
On Friday, Briggs’ father called his son’s commanding officer with a
somewhat heroic report of the shooting in Baltimore. “Father says
Briggs’ friend was being attacked by some men and he intervened,
when he got
shot in the foot and his friend was shot in the abdomen,” said Banks,
paraphrasing from the note in Briggs’ file.
“After police were called and mug shots were given to the friend
Briggs, they refused to identify the assailant for fear the
come back and finish the job.”
Banks said Briggs could face disciplinary action from the National
even a court-martial — once the civilian law enforcement process
Robinson, the police detective, expressed frustration yesterday
when told by
a reporter that Briggs has been an enlisted guardsman since October