Burglary suspect slain by officer was shot in the back as he ran BALTIMORE CITY

January 15, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A burglary suspect shot and killed by a Baltimore police officer Wednesday night as he attempted to escape from custody was struck in the middle of his right back by the bullet, the state medical examiner's office said yesterday.

Raleigh D. Lemon, 32, of the 1000 block of W. Mulberry St. was shot when he ran from the emergency room of Bon Secours Hospital, where he was being treated for injuries suffered in a fight with at least three police officers who had arrested him, police said.

Police said Officer Darlene Early, 22, chased Mr. Lemon down a hallway and out of the hospital before she fired a single shot. She had been assigned to guard Mr. Lemon at the hospital after his arrest for a suspected burglary.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Donald Wright said the bullet entered Mr. Lemon's back and struck his heart. He was pronounced dead several minutes later inside the hospital.

The manner of the death has been ruled a homicide, the standard medical examiner's ruling whenever one person kills another, Dr. Wright said. But the determination as to whether the homicide is justified is not made by the medical examiner, he said.

Agent Doug Price, a police spokesman, said investigators are conducting an "intensive review" of the shooting and will submit their findings to the state's attorney's office for a ruling on whether Officer Early was justified in using deadly force.

Officer Early could also face a departmental trial board if it is found that she violated police procedures.

Agent Price refused to talk about witnesses' accounts of the incident or the account of the shooting that Officer Early gave to investigators.

Officer Early, a two-year veteran of the force assigned to the Western District, has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

The action is normal department procedure any time an officer is involved in a shooting.

Mr. Lemon was arrested Wednesday afternoon in a house in the 300 block of N. Calhoun St. after police went there for a report of a burglary. Police said Mr. Lemon, who was hiding in a third-floor bedroom closet, fought with the arresting officers.

He suffered a cut to the head and complained of pain in his shoulder and leg, and police brought him to the hospital to be examined. He bolted from the emergency room when his handcuffs were removed during the examination, police said.

Correctional officials said Mr. Lemon had previously served 17 months at the Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown for violating probation on attempted theft and assault convictions.

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