Colleagues shocked at violence by officer who 'always had a smile' VIOLENCE AT POLICE HEADQUARTERS

July 18, 1991|By Ginger Thompson

Whatever rage simmered in heart of Baltimore police Officer Calloway F. Hatcher Sr. was concealed from his neighbors and colleagues, who knew him only as a happy, reserved man without enemies.

"I was shocked," said Detective Vernon Holley of the police homicide squad, who remembers that Officer Hatcher had a smile and something pleasant to say for everyone -- an uncommon characteristic for men who deal with life's most devastating circumstances.

Detective Holley said Mr. Hatcher used to work in the police property room, the section of police headquarters that takes in, catalogs and stores thousands of pieces of evidence from Baltimore's crimes.

"Sometimes it got busy down there," the detective said, "but Hatch never had a problem processing mounds of evidence. He always had a smile on his face -- I mean always."

But yesterday, Mr. Hatcher's rage erupted -- shattering the image of him held by those who knew him in the quiet, row house neighborhood inNorthwood where he lived.

Tuesday night, Mr. Hatcher, who worked in the Central Records Division at police headquarters, was arrested at his home on charges that he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old relative. The victim's mother told police that her daughter said she had been having sex with Officer Hatcher for four years.

Called to headquarters for a routine suspension hearing yesterday, he shot two superiors with his service revolver, then put the gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. He died instantly.

Mr. Hatcher was a husband and the father of three sons, one of whom is on the city police force. He grew up in East Baltimore, attended Dunbar High School and joined the Marines in 1956.

"This neighborhood is like a family," said Wallace Bowman, who has known Officer Hatcher, 56, since both were teen-agers at Dunbar. "But I guess you never really know a person, because when they said he had been arrested for child molesting, I just couldn't believe it -- not Hatch."

For years, Mr. Bowman said, the two enjoyed hunting rabbits and squirrels in the winter. He said they never talked about their personal lives or problems. And during their hunting trips, the unspoken rule was that all the hassles of home and work were forbidden topics.

Although not talkative, Mr. Hatcher was considerate, helping fix neighbors' cars or visiting them in the hospital, Mr. Bowman said.

In a police career stretching back to 1964, Mr. Hatcher was awarded three commendations, including a Bronze Star for the arrest of an assault suspect.

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