Couple seeks probe of police shooting of their 19-year-old son

September 26, 1991|By Roger Twigg

For a Woodlawn couple whose 19-year-old son was killed Monday after allegedly trying to run down a Baltimore County police officer, questions abound.

Why would Sadiq A. "Deek" Martin of the 2900 block of Silver Hill Court get involved in a petty crime when he had a good job at Baltimore's main post office? Did he try to run down a police officer? Did the officer have to use deadly force?

During a news conference yesterday at the Rising Sun First Baptist Church, the parents choked back tears, denounced police actions and demanded a grand jury investigation -- a review that the department later said is routine in all fatal shootings involving county officers and will be done in this case.

"They took my son's life," Yvonne Martin, the victim's mother, said at the news conference. "They murdered him. He didn't have a chance. They chased him down and shot him like a wild animal."

Later, the Martins went to police headquarters and met briefly with officials.

According to police accounts, the shooting occurred after officers on patrol interpreted some activity on a parking lot behind Woodlawn High School as an auto theft in progress and, with guns drawn, tried to stop several youths riding in a Dodge Raider, a four-wheel-drive truck.

The Raider was allegedly being driven toward a police officer by Mr. Martin when Officer Timothy Mitchem, 29, a four-year veteran of the police department, fired six shots at the vehicle.

Two went through the truck's windshield, hitting Mr. Martin in the chest.

The officer tried CPR on Mr. Martin before he was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, where he died during surgery.

Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, another police spokesman, said regulations prohibit firing at a moving vehicle "unless the occupants are using deadly force against the officer or others."

"At this point it appears that the vehicle was being used as a deadly weapon against the officer," he said.

A police source said Mr. Martin boasted as he was driving about charging after the officer with the vehicle.

The Rev. Emmett C. Burns, pastor of the Rising Sun First Baptist Church, suggested yesterday that the shooting of Mr. Martin -- a 1990 graduate of Northwestern High School who had planned to attend Catonsville Community College -- resulted from a double standard.

"As a black male, minister, father, civil rights professional, I wish to issue a stern warning to black males: Stay away from all signs of trouble," Mr. Burns said. "You will not be handled gently or kindly by certain policemen."

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