La Plata, MD – La Plata Chief of Police Carl Schinner said Jan. 15 that alert police work and the help of citizens helped apprehend a 27-year-old man high on PCP (phencyclidine) who tried to gouge out the eyes of a 2-year-old girl.

The suspect, James Ronald Lee, is being held on $500,000 bond.

Schinner said that at 1:40 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12, a La Plata officer on routine patrol in the area of Charles Street and Crain Highway (Route 301) observed a man assaulting a woman.

Police reported that several citizens stopped their cars and were holding the suspect on the ground when the officer arrived.

The officer’s investigation determined that the suspect entered the vehicle of a neighbor in the 100 block of Kalmia Court and asked her to drive him to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office because someone was trying to kill him.

He also told her he had ingested PCP.

While en route to the sheriff’s office, the suspect left the front seat of the vehicle and began to “actively assault” a 2-year-old female child in the back seat.

Witnesses reported that the man was attempting to gouge out the child’s eyes.

When the mother tried to intervene, the suspect began assaulting her as well as another citizen who stopped to render aid to the mother and child.

The child was transported to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for treatment of facial and eye injuries.

The citizen who sought to help and the mother were transported to Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata where they were treated and released.

Lee was transported to a medical facility where he is being treated for a drug overdose. Police have obtained an arrest warrant.

Schinner said that Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington is considering felony charges in the case.

“The girl was released from the hospital yesterday,” Schinner said, adding that in time she is expected to fully recover from her injuries.

A fund has been set up to help the mother defray medical costs. As of this writing more than $3,655 has been donated.

To help contribute, go to

Schinner noted that PCP is “not something we see a lot these days.”

PCP, a horse tranquilizer, is noted for evoking violent tendencies and abnormal strength in those who abuse the substance. Just last week, a man high on PCP shucked his clothes at a Waldorf gas station and began assaulting patrons. In 1982, two men high on PCP violently raped and murdered Stephanie Roper in St. Mary’s County.

Contact Joseph Norris at