Officer says he thought shooting victim was armed Man is recovering at Shock Trauma

November 22, 1992|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

A lawyer for the Baltimore police officer who shot an unarmed man last week at a Glen Burnie gas station said his client thought the man was reaching for a gun inside his pants.

"My client does not have a volatile temper," said Henry Belsky, a Fraternal Order of Police lawyer. "He's never had to use the weapon in the 15 years he's been on the department."

John W. Calvert, 26, was shot at 2:15 a.m. Monday at John's

Crown gas station in the 7900 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd. after he allegedly exchanged words with off-duty officer Arthur Dawkins, 36.

Mr. Calvert, of the 1000 block of Sunnybrook Drive, is recovering at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center from a single gunshot wound to his chest.

Mr. Belsky said his client was paying for gas and cigarettes at the attendant's booth when he saw Mr. Calvert walk up to the booth with a water bucket. Mr. Calvert appeared annoyed that there was no water in the bucket, Mr. Belsky said.

Mr. Dawkins was suspicious of the man's behavior, Mr. Belsky said.

The officer went back to his car and filled his gas tank, and as he was replacing the car's gas cap, Mr. Calvert walked over and called him a "fool," Mr. Belsky said.

"He made an aggressive move to my client," Mr. Belsky said. "And he kept coming toward my client. My client told him to back off, but he kept coming toward him."

Mr. Calvert reached into his waistband, and Mr. Dawkins fired once after he thought he saw something black in Mr. Calvert's hand, Mr. Belsky said.

Mr. Dawkins did not identify himself as a police officer until after the shooting, Mr. Belsky said.

Relatives and friends of Mr. Calvert said Officer Dawkins was angry about being interrupted as he counted change at the booth and shot Mr. Calvert as he was walking back to his car.

The attendant, William Maminiski, said although he did not see the shooting, Mr. Calvert had told him that he wanted "to go over and hit" the officer and then uttered a racial slur. Mr. Calvert is white, Mr. Dawkins is black.

But Mr. Belsky said his client did not hear the man use any racial epithets. Anne Arundel County detectives are investigating the shooting and will forward the results to the county State's Attorney's Office.

"We gave a full statement to police, and we answered every question they had," he said.

Mr. Belsky said his client has received four departmental awards for outstanding performance of duty, including pulling a handicapped woman from a burning building.

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