Officer wounds 2, kills himself at police headquarters

July 18, 1991|By Roger Twigg and James Bock Rafael Alvarez and Brian Sullam of The Sun's metropolitan staff contributed to this article.

Because of an editing error, a quotation attributed to Officer Gary S. Sisserman was taken out of context in an article in yesterday's editions of The Sun about the shootings at Baltimore police headquarters.

The article should have explained that several officers said their colleagues are reluctant to confide in police psychiatrists and often keep their problems bottled up inside, before quoting Officer Sisserman as saying: "We don't even talk about it among ourselves. We are all very isolated."

The Sun regrets the error.

In less than a minute of gunfire and fury yesterday, a suspended 56-year-old Baltimore police officer brought the violence of the streets to police headquarters.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Officer Calloway F. Hatcher Sr., who was charged Tuesday with sexually abusing a 10-year-girl, wounded a major and a lieutenant in a fourth-floor office and hallway about 9:30 a.m. He then shot himself to death.

The dead gunman's superiors in the Central Records Division, Maj. Peter C. Shaulis, 59, and Lt. Michael H. Waudby, 41, were both in critical condition last night after undergoing surgery.

The shootings were the first ever at headquarters, police said.

The attempted murders and suicide came only 22 hours after Officer Hatcher, an ex-Marine and police mail clerk, was charged with sexually abusing the girl and immediately suspended from the force. The shootings came as he was about to undergo a routine suspension hearing.

News of Officer Hatcher's arrest came as the first shock to those who worked with him. The abused girl was a relative, and the abuse had allegedly had gone on at the police officer's Northwood home since the girl was 6.

Then came the horror of the shootings, which sent officers and civilian employees at headquarters diving for cover as the shots rang out.

"There was not a soul in this building who did not know this man, and everybody liked the guy," Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman, said of Officer Hatcher. "He did his job well, was very neat, attentive, polite, gregarious. Quite obviously, he had a problem that he concealed very well."

Police first thought the shooting might have been spontaneous, but last night they said the officer had attempted to hide the police-issue .38-caliber revolver used in the shootings from investigators looking into the child-abuse charge.

Other officers took away Officer Hatcher's off-duty, snub-nosed revolver, his badge, his identification and other equipment when he was arrested, Mr. Hill said. They went to his home to retrieve the .38-caliber service revolver, which he told them was in a closet, but couldn't find it.

Officer Hatcher agreed to find the revolver and bring it to headquarters yesterday.

When he arrived at 9:25 a.m. for the hearing, he showed a security officer the six-shot service revolver he was carrying in a plastic bag. The gun was unloaded, its cylinder was open, and six bullets were loose on the bottom of the bag, Mr. Hill said.

Despite written Police Department policy that weapons are not to be turned in at suspension hearings, no one stopped Officer Hatcher from taking the revolver to the fourth floor, which houses the Central Records Division and is open to the public.

"All weapons should have been recovered at the time of suspension, but we're dealing with an individual who wouldn't do something like this," Mr. Hill said. "He was the kind of guy who would walk past any precaution you could set up."

The police gave this account of what happened on the fourth floor:

Officer Hatcher arrived in Room 442 for the 9:30 a.m. suspension hearing before Major Shaulis, director of the Central Records Division, and Lieutenant Waudby, his assistant. The conference

room is in the southeast corner of building, at the opposite end of the floor from the records office used by the public.

Lieutenant Waudby was standing in the doorway between the conference room and Major Shaulis' office when Officer Hatcher took out the revolver and held it upside down at arm's length, swinging it back and forth on his finger.

A secretary in an adjoining office with a view of the conference room heard Lieutenant Waudby say, "OK, now, don't do that. Put that away. That's not necessary. We're your friends."

As Lieutenant Waudby backed out of the doorway, Officer Hatcher flipped the revolver upright and fired the first of four shots. The bullet missed Lieutenant Waudby, hit the door frame and struck the ceiling.

Lieutenant Waudby ducked into the adjoining office, where two secretaries took cover behind their desks.

The gunman then moved into Major Shaulis' office, Room 406. Hearing the shot, the major apparently had stood up behind his desk.

Officer Hatcher shot the major in the head from about six feet away. The bullet entered the major's skull above the right eye and moved toward his right temple. Fragments penetrated his brain.

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