Accounts conflict in shooting by officer Glen Burnie man wounded in dispute

November 18, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Witnesses have given county police conflicting versions of events leading up to the shooting early Monday of a Glen Burnie man by an off-duty Baltimore police officer.

Relatives and friends of John W. Calvert, who was seriously injured, said the officer was angry about being interrupted while he was counting change at the attendant's booth about 2:15 a.m. and shot the 26-year-old man as he walked to his car.

But the attendant, William Maminiski, said Mr. Calvert told him he wanted "to go over and hit" the plain-clothes officer, who was at the gas pumps, then uttered a racial slur.

Mr. Calvert is white. The officer is black.

Mr. Maminiski said he did not see the shooting and did not know what the apparent dispute was about.

Police were still investigating last night the incident at John's Crown station in the 7900 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.

They said Charles Arthur Dawkins, 36, an officer in the city's Eastern District, shot Mr. Calvert once with his department-issued 9mm Glock semiautomatic handgun.

Investigators who interviewed the 15-year veteran yesterday afternoon said the case will be reviewed by the State's Attorney's Office before any charges are filed.

Police would not comment on witnesses' statements and would not elaborate on the shooting. Sam Ringgold, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, said Officer Dawkins has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.

Mr. Calvert's girlfriend, Michelle LaBouyer, 23, said Mr. Calvert had just left his pizza restaurant, Piezonnie Johnny's, about a mile from the gas station. A teen-age employee was with him, she said.

The girlfriend would not identify the youth, but relayed his account of the shooting.

She said the incident began when Mr. Calvert brought an empty bucket to the window for the attendant to fill with window-washing solution. She said he "butted in front" of the man, whom he did not know was a police officer, who was counting money.

Mr. Calvert's mother, Marlene Calvert, who talked to her son and the youth, suggested that the officer may have been angry that he was interrupted. She said the employee saw the officer "reach inside his car and get something out" as her son walked to his car.

Ms. LaBouyer said her boyfriend "was walking away when he turned around and got shot."

In the version of the station attendant, Mr. Maminiski, Mr. Calvert said "sorry" as the officer walked away from the booth and back toward his own car.

Mr. Maminiski said Mr. Calvert asked him numerous times if he had ever seen the officer before. "He started to say he wanted to go over and hit the guy. I kept telling him I wasn't going to get into it.

"I didn't want to argue with him," Mr. Maminiski said, describing the racial slur. "After he said he wanted to hit the guy a couple more times, he started to go back to his car."

Mr. Maminiski said he heard a loud crash -- a six-pack of soda hitting the ground -- and then the gunshot.

One story, discounted by Mr. Calvert's mother and girlfriend, is that the officer saw a pager Mr. Calvert was wearing and mistook it for a gun. "His hands were up in the air," Ms. Calvert said. "It couldn't look like he was going to his belt."

Ms. Calvert also denied that her son used a racial slur. "That's not what happened. My son is not racial," she said.

Mr. Calvert was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center and underwent four hours of surgery. He was listed in serious but stable condition yesterday.

Ms. Calvert said the bullet came within a few inches of her son's heart and severed an artery, spilling five pints of blood. He also suffered a collapsed lung and nerve damage.

"The doctors said he was very lucky to be alive," she said.

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