Overdose is suspected in gunman's death Police believe man with fake gun died from drugs, not shotgun blast.

October 31, 1991|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff

A drug overdose rather than a shotgun blast fired by police may have caused the death of a 29-year-old Baltimore man who tried to rob a convenience store with a fake .45-caliber revolver, according to a city police spokesman.

"Where he was shot, should not have been sufficient to kill him,"

said police spokesman Dennis Hill. "We're going to wait for the medical examiner to tell us why he died."

The man received two shoulder wounds from shotgun pellets. Two vials of crack cocaine were found in the man's pockets and another vial near his body, Hill said.

Rodney Willis, of the 700 block of E. 21st. St., was shot early yesterday when he failed to obey police orders to drop the revolver, which later proved to be fake, police said. The shooting occurred in an apartment building in the 6500 block of Moravia Park Drive.

Willis was dead on arrival at Francis Scott Key Medical Center. An autopsy was performed yesterday, but there was "no ruling" on Willis' death, Hill said. Police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine whether Willis died from a drug overdose. It could take several weeks to complete the tests.

Minutes before the shooting, police said, Willis had tried to hold up a Dash-In convenience store in the 6100 block of Moravia Park Drive.

When officers arrived, they observed the gunman running into an apartment building at the Notting Street Station, police said.

Police said Willis was shot after officers confronted him in the hallway of the apartment building. Willis yelled, "I'm not going back to jail!" He was felled by the shotgun blast after he pointed the fake pistol at the officers, police said.

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