Neighbors: Rosewood used in training, news to them

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (WMAR) -  

There is some dispute over the details about the shooting over a police trainee at the former Rosewood Center.

After more than a century of treating patients with severe mental disabilities, Rosewood closed in June of 2009.

Since then, neighbors say they've heard all kinds of plans for the sprawling site in Owings Mills.

"They said that Stevenson University was going to come in and basically come in and bring a campus here," said Sharon Lewis, who has lived right next to the site since 1988.  "We also were told that they were going to have more housing, condos developed in that area.  It just didn't happen. At least not yet."

Then on Tuesday, something did happen.

There was some kind of police training exercise on the grounds involving -- sources say -- roughly 50 trainees from several police agencies.

It ended with a Baltimore City police instructor firing a live round, striking a trainee from the University of Maryland Baltimore Police Department in the head.

"I was surprised that it was used for that; when I heard it on the news that was the first time I heard anything about it," Lewis said.

So why were police using the facility for training?

They haven't said -- but at a news conference Tuesday night, Col. A.J. McAndrew from the Maryland State Police, which is investigating the shooting, said:  "That facility has been used for training purposes for many years."

That comes as news to Sharon Lewis.  She said she has never seen any police head into or out of the grounds.

"From the safety point, yes we should have been aware that some training of that sort was going to take place," she said.

Also there is still no answer to the question of how a live round could have been fired during training.

From the outside of Rosewood we could not see any kind of system to check in police weapons to keep them off of the site; just a collection of abandoned, crumbling buildings.

"There's no acceptable explanation for why live rounds were at a training exercise," said Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

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