Prison worker slain at home Woman, 40, shot several times outside city house.

February 20, 1991|By Frank D. Roylance and William B. Talbott | Frank D. Roylance and William B. Talbott,Evening Sun Staff Joe Nawrozki and Richard Irwin contributed to this story.

A 40-year-old state correctional officer was shot in the head and killed today as she stepped through the front gate of her northwest Baltimore home after taking her grandchild to school.

The officer was one of two women found dead today in unrelated homicides in Baltimore and Towson. In the second killing, a 70-year-old Towson-area woman found dead in her car near Charles Street and the Beltway.

City police identified the correctional officer as Theresa Johnson of 3600 block of Gwynn Oak Ave. near Liberty Road.

Investigators said Johnson finished work at 7:15 a.m., and had just returned home from her grandchild's school at 8:15 a.m. when she was shot several times at close range. She died in her front yard.

Her daughter heard the shots, went to the front door and saw her mother lying just inside the fence.

Johnson died wearing her Division of Corrections uniform under a blue denim jacket. She was shot once in the forehead and several times in the upper body, police said.

A sign on the house next door to where she fell reads, "Stop thKilling."

Police said the victim lived at the 2 1/2 -story, shingled frame home with her mother, sister, daughter and two grandchildren.

Police were questioning the family today after it was alleged that the victim's mother had told a male friend of her daughter to stop bothering the victim.

Two men were apprehended shortly after 10:30 a.m. after a caand foot chase in Southwestern District. They were taken to police headquarters for questioning.

They were not immediately charged and their identities were nodisclosed by police.

Police said Johnson has been an employee of the Division of Corrections about six years, and worked the 11 p.m. to 7:15 a.m. shift at the Diagnostic and Classification Center at Greenmount Avenue and Madison Street.

Friends said she also held a part-time job in a medical laboratory at Francis Scott Key Medical Center.

Witnesses told police they heard five shots and saw a man wearing a multicolored jacket with an 8-ball on the back run from the scene and enter a maroon compact car several blocks away. The car was driven by a second man.

A car matching that description was chased by Southwestern District officers about 10:30 a.m. Four occupants of the car jumped from the vehicle and tried to escape on foot. Two were apprehended by police. None of the four was wearing an 8-ball jacket, police said.

Police believe a semi-automatic handgun was used in the killing. No gun was found at the scene, but several spent cartridges were found about 12 feet from Johnson's body.

City police were being helped in their investigation by the Division of Corrections and the State Police.

In Towson, the body of Eileen G. Wishart of the Charlesgate Apartments in the 8400 block of Charles Valley Court, was found about 2:30 a.m. in her car, parked in the 1300 block of Bellona Ave. near the Beltway.

The body, which had a head injury, was taken to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore for an autopsy. Police would not disclose whether the victim had suffered a blow to the head or had been shot.

A Towson District police officer found the victim slumped over in the front seat of her 1981 Chevrolet, said police spokesman Sgt. Steven Doarnberger.

Doarnberger said the woman's purse was undisturbed on the front seat and nothing appeared to have been taken. She was wearing slacks, blouse and winter coat and her clothing did not appear to have been disturbed, he said.

The body was found in front of a financial office in a five-office strip of buildings facing the Beltway.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said Wishart had lived in the Charlesgate Apartments at least 20 years. She was believed to be widowed, the woman said.

"She was very friendly, very bright," the neighbor said.

Wishart, said the neighbor, often was seen running errands in her automobile and was a regular volunteer at the Towson branch of the county library.

Police said they had no motive or suspects in the case.

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