A Middle River man died early yesterday, several hours after being shot by a police officer who was trying to break up a brawl in a neighborhood tavern, authorities said.
The fighting was apparently started by one of the man's two brothers, according to a waitress at Skip's Tavern on Middle River Road.
Officers called to break up the fight about 10:30 p.m. were attacked by the three brothers at the rear of the bar, said Sgt. Steve Doarnberger, a county police spokesman.
During the struggle, Officer Steve Comegna's gun discharged, striking Eugene W. Sharp, 24, of the 1500 block of Chilworth Ave., in the abdomen, Sergeant Doarnberger said.
Mr. Sharp, a stonemason and father of a 4-year-old boy, died at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He would have turned 25 on Wednesday.
Police described all of the brothers as more than 6 feet tall and weighing more than 200 pounds.
The surviving brothers, Craig E. Sharp, 23, and Charles C. Sharp, 21, both of the 9800 block of Tailspin Lane, were charged with assault and battery, resisting arrest and hindering police.
Both were awaiting bail hearings last night at the Essex police station lockup, and Craig Sharp was treated for minor injuries at Franklin Square Hospital, police said.
Officers Comegna, Michael Schmitz and Garron Minor were placed on administrative duty pending completion of an investigation, Sergeant Doarnberger said.
The spokesman said the officers sustained minor cuts and bruises.
The waitress, who identified herself only as C.B., said she arrived for work just as the first two officers arrived. She said an argument erupted between the police officers and the brothers, one of whom was accused of striking another customer.
When the officers went to arrest the suspect, the other brothers became involved, she said.
"It was a like a big brawl," she said. "It looked like [the police] lost complete control. They just had no control at all."
She said another waitress phoned police for additional help.
Shortly after the third officer arrived, C.B. said, she "heard a pop and then the other brothers shouting, 'You shouldn't have shot him. You shouldn't have shot him.'"
The incident occurred during a lull in Saturday night business -- only about nine other patrons were in the bar at the time. The tavern was closed afterward.
C.B. described Skip's Tavern as a neighborhood bar, "where everybody knows everybody and gets along well."
The brothers live in the vicinity of the bar, just off Pulaski Highway in southeastern Baltimore County.