Policeman kills man in struggle in West Baltimore Police say victim pulled gun that turned out to be fake

August 30, 1991|By Roger Twigg N

A 33-year-old man was shot and killed by a Southwestern District police officer yesterday after threatening the officer with a replica of a semiautomatic handgun, according to police.

The shooting occurred in a drug-infested section of Baltimore within a half-dozen blocks of where two children -- one 3 and the other 6 -- were killed recently during separate street shootings.

Theodore Bushrod Jr., whose arrest record included numerous narcotics charges, died at the scene from three gunshot wounds in the chest, said Agent Arlene K. Jenkins, a police spokeswoman.

The shooting occurred at Poplar Grove Street and Walbrook Avenue, where, narcotics investigators said, street drug dealings begin at 7 a.m. and continue until after 2 a.m."

Officer Thomas Mistysyn Jr., 25, who graduated from the police academy in December, was patrolling the area just before 9 a.m. yesterday when he spotted a suspicious-looking man standing outside a vacant building on Poplar Grove Street known for illegal drug use, police said.

Agent Jenkins said Officer Mistysyn circled the block in his marked patrol car and returned to find the man still standing in the same spot.

The officer decided to park his patrol car and question the man, the spokeswoman said.

As the officer approached, the man made a move toward his waistband, prompting the officer to place him against the patrol car for a body search.

While standing against the car, the man lurched back, struggled briefly with the officer, then pulled what appeared to be a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the officer, Agent Jenkins said.

Officer Mistysyn pulled his 9mm handgun and fired three quick shots into the man's chest, and the man died within minutes, police said.

It was not until crime laboratory technicians examined the black handgun carried by the suspect that they realized it was only a replica manufactured of hard plastic, Agent Jenkins said.

Police said companies manufacture the replicas for collectors and there are no laws regulating them. Many of the fakes have firing mechanisms, magazines and make-believe bullets, they said.

Because the replicas are not considered firearms, the department does not keep records of how many are confiscated, so they were uncertain how much of a problem fake weapons represent, Agent Jenkins said.

Officer Mistysyn was on a planned vacation yesterday and will face a review of the shooting when he returns to work next week.

Mr. Bushrod and another man were charged with killing Kwang Ja Kim, a 45-year-old grocer, during a robbery at C and K Wines and Grocery in the 4000 block of Windsor Avenue in September 1986, according to police.

They said he and Morris F. Sample Jr., 32, of the 4100 block of Fairview Avenue, were charged after an eyewitness identified them.

Police said they searched Mr. Bushrod's house in the 3100 block Piedmont Avenue and recovered a magazine clip and shotgun shells similar to those used in the grocery store shooting.

Mr. Bushrod was tried in June 1987 in Baltimore City Circuit Court, but the trial ended in a hung jury. A second Circuit Court jury acquitted him four months later.

=1 Police said Mr. Sample has remained at large.

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