Narcotics police, gunman exchange fire 6 wounded High-rise trafficking report brings officers

February 04, 1992|By John Rivera L

Six people, including a female bystander, were shot and wounded during a gunfight involving the police last night on the fifth floor of a West Baltimore public housing high-rise.

Plainclothes narcotics Officers Stewart Carlton, 29, and Neyland Vaughn Jr., 22, responding to a report of drug dealing at the Murphy Homes building in the 1000 block of Argyle Avenue, found about a dozen people apparently engaged in drug dealing in a fifth-floor hallway, police said.

One man opened fire with a .357-caliber Magnum and the officers responded with 15 shots, striking five men and one woman, said Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman.

Neither officer was hit.

Four of the wounded were taken to University of Maryland Medical Center. Peter T. Williams, 22, of the 100 block of North Milton Avenue, Brian P. Watts, 23, of the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue and James L. Butler, 25, of the 1500 block of Riggs Avenue were listed in stable condition.

Valerie M. Falls, 33, of the 100 block of West Centre Street, described by police as an innocent bystander, was treated and released.

Michael Jacobs, 24, of the 1300 block of McCulloh Street took a taxi to the same hospital, and he was reported in stable condition.

A sixth person, Wayne D. Watts, 25, of the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center with a wound in each hand and his left leg. Identified by police as the suspected gunman, he was listed in serious but stable condition.

The shooting began about 7:45 p.m. Pairs of Central District narcotics officers had moved up two exterior staircases -- at the north and south ends of the building -- stopping to check at each floor, Mr. Hill said.

When the officers on the south end reached the fifth floor, one pushed open the door and saw about a dozen men believed to be dealing drugs.

One of the plainclothes officers showed his badge and identified himself to the men, Mr. Hill said.

A man in the group began firing a handgun. Several bullets were later found by investigators in the wall and door frame near where the officers had been standing. The weapon was seized and a small amount of drugs and drug equipment was found, Mr. Hill said.

One of the officers fired seven times and the other eight times. All six people were believed hit by the officers, Mr. Hill said.

Two of the wounded people ran to the ninth floor, where they were found in separate apartments.

Charges against the five men who were wounded were pending.

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