A 32-year-old man was critically wounded yesterday during a gunbattle with two police officers in which nearly 50 shots were fired near a West Baltimore high-rise for the elderly, the police said.
Grandville O'Neal Veney of the 3400 block of Powhatten Avenue was taken to University Hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition last night with at least five gunshot wounds, the police said.
Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman, said the incident began just after 5 a.m. when two Western District police officers spotted a 1986 Toyota that was being driven slowly and erratically. The officers followed the car, which was occupied by a man and a woman, into an alley in the rear of the 1300 block of Laurens Street, behind a high-rise apartment building for the elderly, Mr. Hill said.
The woman got out of the car on the passenger side and walked away.
The driver of the Toyota then got out of the car and walked back to the police car, where he started talking with Officer Mark James Frank, 31, who was seated behind the steering wheel. But the driver returned to his car when Officer Frank's partner, Officer Milton Edward Coleman, 32, left the patrol car to inspect the Toyota.
At this point, Mr. Hill said, Officer Coleman saw a gun lying on the seat of the Toyota and yelled to his partner, "Gun, gun, gun!"
The police spokesman said the driver of the Toyota then reached into the car, picked up the long-barreled .22 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and started shooting. He then ran across a parking lot, turning several times to exchange shots with the two officers in pursuit.
The police said the suspect fired five shots while the two officers returned a total of 42 shots.
The police said that even though the suspect was wounded in both legs, left arm, hand and abdomen, he wrestled with police as they attempted to give him first aid.
Veney, who the police said has a lengthy criminal record, is currently on probation for handgun and arson convictions. The police said the car he was driving was reported stolen Saturday in East Baltimore.
Investigators said Veney will be charged with two counts of attempted murder, auto theft and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime.
Mr. Hill said the matter will also be investigated by the department's internal investigation division and homicide unit, as well as the state's attorney's office.
There were no preliminary indications that either officer acted improperly and both will return to duty immediately, the spokesman said.