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September 16, 2009

Sword attacks not uncommon in Baltimore area

The Johns Hopkins student who apparently fought back against an intruder on Tuesday used a unique weapon to kill -- a samurai sword.

But looking back through Baltimore Sun clips I found that the samurai sword or weapons that resemble a samurai sword has been used many times before in our area (though I have to say, this appears to be the first samurai sword killing in Baltimore City in at least three years. City police list "zero" under sword killings in their year-end homicide statistical survey.).

Here's a website with a history of the samural sword that looked interesting.

I only had to go back to March of this year to find the first mention of a samurai sword. A California gang member was sent to Baltimore to separate real Bloods members from fake Bloods members, and police said he tortured a 19-year-old man, smashed him with a sledgehammer, cut him with a box cutter and stabbed him with a samurai sword. He then set the body on fire. The man's crime against the gang: he refused to send money to a gang member in prison. The victim died and the gang member was convicted of murder.

In 2003, an Edgewood man was accused of attacking his girlfriend in their home using a "samurai-style sword" and then leading Maryland State Police troopers on a 60-mph chase.

In 2000, police in Anne Arundel County shot a woman armed with a knife who was fighting with her husband who had a samurai sword.

In 1993, a fistfight at a party in Baltimore County ended with a 25-year-old man dead on a living room floor -- nearly decapitated by a samurai sword.

And in 1991, two men were fatally stabbed in Baltimore County after a fight in which one of the combatants was armed with a samurai-style sword.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:19 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Confronting crime


There are very few bright spots on that year end report- used to be that no matter how many gun homicides, we could always say, "Well at least no one was killed with a sword. That's something, right? Move to Baltimore, and live without fear of swords!" Now, even that will have a tally.

Don't remember whether a samurai sword was involved, but a few years ago in East Baltimore, the gypsy king was decapitated.

Only four of those are actually "sword killings."

2009: sword killing
March 2009: sword killing (among other weapons)
2003: was the girlfriend killed?
2000: police shooting
1993: sword killing
1991: sword killing

This survey covers the last 18 years in an area defined from Edgewood to Anne Arundel county.

I guess it depends on what your definition of "not uncommon" is.

sh, thanks for the note, and good point. I changed the headline to read "sword attacks."

Tom, I think you're thinking of Sister Myra in 1994.

The writer of this article is comparing SELF DEFENSE to a "sword attack". Anyone else see a problem with this?

"The writer of this article is comparing SELF DEFENSE to a "sword attack". Anyone else see a problem with this?"

That's because our government and media are trying very hard to brainwash the population into beliving that self-defense is a crime in and of itself. Just look at how it's handled in schools.

I take issue with several points in this article. First to call this a “sword attack” and to place this young man’s actions in the context of gang violence, crimes of passion and drunken brawls does him and all law-abiding citizens a great disservice.
Second you state the use of the samauri sword in Baltimore is "unique" and in the next breath say it "has been used many times before" then proceed to list them. A unique event is properly the only one of its kind.
"Not uncommon" as well gives the wrong impression. Lightening deaths are one would think pretty rare and there were 12 in Maryland the same time period. If you want to point to a not uncommon event how about Baltimore police refusing to write a report (much less investigate) when you have been robbed unless you can prove you have filed an insurance claim. But I digress.
The issue here is not swords, guns, clubs, the jawbone of an ass or any other inanimate object that may be used to kill a human being. Rather the issue is that, in a city and society that promotes victim-hood, one man when confronted with a potentially deadly threat in his home chose to exercise his right to life. Let’s hope that no misguided DA tries to now deny him his liberty and pursuit of happiness.

You baltimore area residents need to take action and go down there to the DA and tell them to drop the case or sentence this guy to community service...I cant believe High crime Baltimore DA is wasting his time with a John Hopkins student . While killing is sad in any form it was self defense

There's an ongoing and very pointed critique of the glamorization of samurai violence going on in San Francisco right now, with a guerrilla art attack on the samurai exhibition at the Asian Art Museum there.

It's Kristallnacht for White People, hear the warning sounds. This time it is the sound of Whites being criticized for defending themselves, but the message is the same...LEAVE.

Saldy, there is one thing that keeps a person in check, fear. All to often the victim is the one afraid and the criminal has power over the situation. Criminals NEED to fear their victims.

If only more burgulars were struck down w/ swords. Seriously. It needs to happen more often truthfully. Crime rate would drop because all the criminals breaking and entering wouldn't get slaps on the wrists only to be released to go try to burgularize again. This guy was a multiple repeat offender. 29 times. How many times DIDN'T he get caught?

I have 2 samurai sword swords on display as well, and if a burgular tries to enter my residence while I am home, he too will meet the same fate as this poor sap with no reservations what-so-ever.

That's what I love about Ohio. We have a "Castle" law here. If anyone comes onto your yard if you have a no trespassing sign you can call the police and they have to arrest the person. But with the castle law ANYONE who comes into your home uninvited is automatically considered a threat to your life and you are able to whatever you deem necessary (blow their brains out). In Cincinnati the cops won't even arrest store owners who chase burglars out into the street and shoot them in the back. I firmly believe that is the BEST crime deterrent possible, you act up, you get killed.

How sad that people inflict violence on others especially when they can get hold of deadly weapons. These samurai swords are lethal. One must be careful with how we store such objects so that people will not be tempted to use them to cause others harm.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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