A man known across Baltimore as “Public Enemy No. 1” after this weekend has turned himself in after police say he threw two Molotov cocktails into a home in Johnston Square, killing two and injuring six.
Antonio Wright, 26, was arrested today for his alleged role in an early Saturday firebombing of a home in the 1200 block of Greenmount Avenue, in the Johnston Square neighborhood. The attack killed 19-year-old Shi-heem Sholto and 17-year-old Tyrone James and sent a half-dozen people, including two children ages 4 and 11 years old, to the hospital. One 20-year-old woman remains in critical condition.
At a press conference this weekend, police named Wright as their chief suspect and said the attack was targeted. Chief spokesman T.J. Smith said today that “preexisting disputes” had happened between Wright and others nearby and that a man who was shot on Thursday ran into the house that was later set ablaze. (Smith noted today that the man actually wasn’t in the house by the time of the attack on Saturday.)
Police on Sunday released footage from a CitiWatch camera that shows their suspect tossing the Molotov cocktails at the edge of the frame. The ATF and Baltimore police had announced a $12,000 reward for information leading to Wright’s arrest.
The Sun’s Justin Fenton reported today that a woman claiming to be Wright’s wife posted videos on social media, some featuring Wright himself, claiming he was innocent and that police were framing him because he had attempted to expose a city police officer who he said illegally sold an AR-15 rifle off the market.
Smith said today that Wright faces two counts of first- and second-degree murder, “a number of counts” of attempted murder and assault and other arson-related charges. Police are still investigating the firebombing and the videos circulating online in which he says he is innocent.
“I don’t have an expectation that he was gonna profess his guilt via social media…The proclamation of innocence on social media – that’s something that him and his lawyer are gonna have to deal with,” Smith said. “He’s innocent until proven guilty, but once again, we’re confident that we have the person that’s responsible for that egregious crime that took place.”
He added that police are exploring the accusation from Wright and his wife about the police officer who they say sold an AR-15 on the street.
Last September, eight people, including children, were shot at Greenmount Avenue and E. Preston Street, roughly 200 feet from the building that was firebombed this weekend. Smith said today that they’re exploring a connection to that incident, but that they don’t have information tying that mass shooting to Wright.
He described the firebombing, to his knowledge, as a “dispute-related type incident” rather than a gang-related incident or “turf war.”
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