BALTIMORE - A Johns Hopkins University student armed with a samurai sword killed a suspected burglar in a garage behind his off-campus home early Tuesday, hours after someone broke in and stole electronics.
Some shocked neighbors said they heard bloodcurdling screams in an area just blocks from the university. Police held the student, a junior chemistry major who turns 21 on Sunday, for several hours, but he was not charged with any crimes Tuesday, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
About 1:20 a.m., the student heard noises behind the home and noticed a door to the garage was open, Guglielmi said. He grabbed the sword and confronted the intruder - identified by police as Donald D. Rice, 49, a habitual offender who had just been released from jail.
Rice was crouching beneath a counter, police said. The student asked him what he was doing and threatened to call police.
"When he said that, the suspect lunged at him, kind of forced the kid against the wall, and he struck him with the sword," Guglielmi said.
Rice's left hand was nearly severed - Guglielmi described it as "hanging on by a thread" - and he suffered a severe cut to the upper body. He died at the scene.
On Monday, two laptops and a Sony PlayStation were stolen from the student's home, which he shares with three other students, but police were not sure whether Rice was responsible, Guglielmi said.
Guglielmi said police would consult with prosecutors about whether to file charges.