Robbery suspect killed by off-duty police officer BALTIMORE COUNTY

November 20, 1992|By Michael James and David Simon | Michael James and David Simon,Staff Writers

A teen-aged armed robbery suspect was shot to death in a quiet Randallstown housing complex last night after he and a companion allegedly attempted to rob an off-duty Baltimore City police officer, authorities said.

The young suspect, whose name was not immediately divulged, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 7:40 p.m. incident in the first block of Western Winds Circle, off Church Lane, Baltimore County police said.

The off-duty officer, who is assigned to the Drug Enforcement Unit at the Baltimore department's Southwestern District, was unhurt in the incident. The second suspect, who fled after the intended victim identified himself as an officer, was still being sought.

County police said Officer Robert Smith was either walking to or from his personal car -- county police were not immediately sure which last night -- when he was approached by two youths who announced a robbery.

Officer Smith told the two that he "didn't think a robbery was such a good idea. I'm an off-duty cop," according to county police Lt. John Smith of the Garrison precinct.

That was apparently enough for one of the suspects, who immediately fled. The second youth, however, pulled a .45-caliber semiautomatic from his waist, pointed it at the officer and pulled the trigger, according to police. The gun misfired, however, because it was loaded with a full clip of ammunition but had an empty chamber.

The officer immediately pulled his 9mm Glock service pistol and fired four shots, at least two of which struck the suspect. At least one shot went awry and shattered the windows of a nearby parked car.

The suspect is believed to have been killed almost instantly by one wound to the upper left chest. A second shot struck him in the wrist.

Bystanders and county police both said that the off-duty officer then reached down and picked up the suspect's .45 and was holding both weapons when a Baltimore County patrol officer arrived and ordered him to drop the guns.

The city officer complied, declared that he was an off-duty officer, and then showed his badge.

On Jan. 9, 1991, Officer Smith killed a suspected drug dealer after the suspect pointed a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun at two officers during a chase on Winchester Street. The suspect attempted to fire the gun but instead inadvertently ejected the ammunition magazine.

Officer Smith fired five shots and hit the victim four times, killing him. The dead man was later identified as a New Jersey resident. The shooting was ruled justifiable.

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