A Howard County grand jury ruled Thursday that a county police officer was not criminally at fault for firing his gun and wounding the driver of a stolen car that he believed was trying to run him down in August.
Officer Charles Walker, a 19-year police veteran, was cleared of any wrongdoing by the grand jury, which found that Walker feared for his life when he fired the gun, said Michael Sherman, a county police spokesman.
The incident occurred Aug. 7, when Walker and another officer, Kevin Meile, chased a stolen Toyota 4-Runner vehicle on Interstate 70 and eventually cornered the vehicle on Route 144.
Police said the vehicle had come to a complete stop, but when Meile approached it, the15-year-old driver drove into his police cruiser. Meile was knocked to the ground.
The Toyota also rammed Walker's cruiser and came close to running over Meile, when Walker pulled out his semiautomatic handgun and fired one shot at the vehicle, police said.
The 15-year-old driver, who was charged with two counts of assault on police, felony theft, fleeing and eluding, and reckless driving, suffered a shoulder injury and was treated and released from the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Police said they recovered a single-barreled shotgun from the vehicle along with some tools used to break intoand steal cars.
Any police officer who fires his weapon in publicis required to undergo a grand jury review to determine if criminal charges should be filed, Sherman said.
Walker is still awaiting the outcome of a police internal affairs review, which will determine if he violated department policies, Sherman said.
Other crimesreported to Howard County police are:
5700 block April Journey: Oct. 15, a 1989 Chevrolet Corvette was reported stolen 7:40 a.m. from a residential neighborhood.
6500 block Dobbin Road: Oct. 14, a 1992 Ford Probe was reported stolen 4:30 p.m. from a business area.
9200 block Moon Fire Place: Oct. 13, a 1991 Subaru was stolen sometime before 5:45 a.m. from a residential neighborhood.
9600 block White Acre Road: Oct. 11, a videocassette recorder was reported stolen 11:30 p.m. from a home entered through an unlocked sliding glass door.
6200 block Gay Topaz: Oct. 9, someone broke into a residence through a basement window sometime before 4:30 p.m. and stole jewelry and a purse.
5200 block Rivendell: Oct. 12, a 1991 Toyota Tercel was reported stolen 4:30 a.m. from a residential parking lot.
3200 block Pine Bluffs Drive: Oct. 13, someone stole jewelry at approximately 6:30 p.m. from a home entered through a basement window.
3100 block Paulskirk Drive: Oct. 11, a 1987 Nissan Sentra was reported stolen at 2 a.m. from a residential neighborhood.
8600 block Bali Road: Oct. 10, several tools were reported stolen 6 p.m. from an unlocked garage.
3700 block Bonnie Branch Court:Oct. 9, a 1983 Toyota Corolla was reported stolen 8 a.m. from a residential neighborhood.
6400 block Anderson Avenue: Oct.11, cash and jewelry were reported stolen 4 p.m. from a home enteredthrough an unlocked sliding glass door.
15900 block Frederick Road: Oct. 13, a 1980 Toyota Celica was reported stolen from Flick's Auto Body parking lot.
1200 block Marriottsville Road: Oct. 13, a 1985 Ford truck was reported stolen 8 a.m. from a garage.