Over the weekend, the arrest of a 19-year-old man on a handgun charge caught my eye. His name? Omar Little.
That of course is the name of the iconic stick-up man from “The Wire,” a show that was based heavily on real people and events from Baltimore’s crime history. Though the Omar character was said to be based on several people – Shorty Boyd, Donnie Andrews, Ferdinand Harvin, Billy Outlaw and Anthony Hollie – none of them were actually named “Omar Little.”
I reached out to the show creator and former Sun reporter David Simon to see whether there was, in fact, an Omar Little who Simon or his writing partners had come across and used as the namesake for the character. Simon replied that the existence of a real life Omar Little was “coincidence, completely.”
Fans of the show, however, seemed to delight in the news that there was actually someone in Baltimore with that name, allegedly committing gun crimes, no less. The Wire’s Omar was a Robin Hood of the inner city, a shotgun-toting “man with a code” who President Barack Obama said was his favorite character. My tweet about his arrest have been “re-tweeted” hundreds of times and led to stories on blogs such as The Huffington Post and The Daily What, and then today on BuzzFeed and The Onion’s AV Club.
The full name of the man arrested over the weekend is Omar Little Jr., and records show Omar Little Sr. has a record including several drug arrests from the 1990s. The arrest of the younger man, who is 19, is his first, but he’s being held on $350,000 bond because it’s a gun crime. Attempts to reach both men were unsuccessful, and police so far haven’t been able to get me a copy of the police report.
Here is a picture of the “real” Omar Little that was arrested
He looks like one of those dirty lil’ ninjas that could have been on The Wire though…