Manhunt ends: Carter back in 'Supermax' cell Officers raid apartment, find him behind bed

January 20, 1993|By William F. Zorzi Jr. and Joe Nawrozki | William F. Zorzi Jr. and Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writers Staff writers Eric Siegel, Rafael Alvarez, Michael James and Jay Apperson contributed to this article.

Convicted killer Dontay Carter is back in a cell at Maryland's "Supermax" prison today after officers in one of the largest manhunts in city history raided a Northeast Baltimore apartment last night and found him hiding behind a bed.

Carter was returned to the maximum security prison, which houses 280 of the state's most dangerous convicts, shortly before midnight after being questioned for several hours by city homicide detectives about his escape.

Authorities said they still are attempting to piece together where Carter went and what he did during his 28 hours of freedom that started when he jumped out of a judge's restroom window Monday afternoon at the main city courthouse.

Carter, 19, was taken into custody about 6 p.m., three hours after a city, state and federal task force surrounded the apartment complex at 5020 Goodnow Road and evacuated the building.

"I don't have a gun," Carter said, almost whispering, as a city police assault team surrounded him in a rear bedroom of the third-floor apartment, according to an officer who was there.

Police, wearing helmets and body armor and carrying shotguns and automatic weapons, opened the apartment door with a key and burst in. Carter identified himself and surrendered, and officers handcuffed him, took him downstairs and led him out the front door.

Dressed in light blue jeans and a black and gray sweat shirt -- a different outfit from the one he was wearing when he escaped -- Carter was led out with his head held high and a blank expression on his face.

As he left, city, state and federal law enforcement officers surged toward the apartment amid cheers and applause from nearby residents who had been warned to stay inside until Carter was apprehended.

Relieving the tension built up since Carter's escape, officers gave each other high-fives and shouted, "Yeah, we got him," as he was led to a police wagon.

Police slapped leg shackles on Carter before loading him into the back of the wagon. Two uniformed officers then accompanied Carter to police headquarters.

After questioning by detectives, he was taken back to Supermax -- formally called the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center -- on East Madison Street.

Police believe Carter knew at least one of the people who lived in the apartment. They would not say who rented it, but initial information indicated that two women were living there. Neither was home at the time of the capture.

Officers were given a key to the apartment by its managers after homicide detectives obtained a search warrant.

Seconds after the police wagon took Carter downtown, United States Marshal for Baltimore Scott Sewell stood near a grassy hill near where the capture took place and explained how the fugitive was found.

"A friend of Dontay's girlfriend had received a couple of calls from Dontay. Someone told us about her, and we worked her a little bit," Marshal Sewell said. "She didn't want to tell us anything. She was afraid. But we were able to trace the phone number back to this apartment."

Marshal Sewell said authorities used a "phone scam" to trick Carter into revealing his presence in the apartment.

"We had somebody call up and ask, 'Who's this?' And Dontay said, 'Man.' 'Man' is Dontay's street name," Marshal Sewell said. "When he said 'Man,' my deputy's heart was fluttering because we knew we had our man.

"We high-tailed it over there real quick. When the police got to the apartment, they saw movement in the window. We think he realized he'd been had, but he had nowhere to go, there was only one door into that apartment, and we kept an armed deputy right there at the bottom of the stairs . . . a gun trained on that door." Until his capture last night, Carter had eluded a police search described as one of the largest in Baltimore history.

City and state police -- aided by several federal agencies and the city sheriff's office -- responded to "hundreds" of telephone tips and information from informers in their attempts to recapture Carter.

Police spokesman Sam Ringgold said the primary city-state police task force of 60 officers was augmented by the rest of the 1,700-member patrol force.

Before Carter was recaptured, police were out in force yesterday afternoon in Carter's old East Baltimore neighborhood , an area pock marked by boarded-up rowhouses and trash-strewn alleys.

Police wagons and patrol cars with uniformed officers were everywhere. Unmarked police cars -- many nondescript rental cars bearing out-of-state license plates -- also were cruising the streets, staking out the homes of former Carter associates and ++ waiting to respond to any reported sightings of the murderer.

In the space of about an hour, police stopped and questioned and or frisked several people in the area, with several police cars converging on the scene at once.

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