Annapolis officer wounded during shootout 14-year veteran is first policeman shot there since 1987

February 20, 1993|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

The nightmare began when the door wouldn't budge. It ended with four Annapolis police officers being ambushed by a gunman in a dark, narrow hall.

One of the officers was wounded, while the other three narrowly escaped injury, when a 20-year-old man opened fire early yesterday in a barricaded apartment.

Cpl. James Doran, 37, a 14-year police veteran and leader of the Annapolis Special Emergency Team, was hit in the abdomen and left thigh. He underwent surgery at Anne Arundel Medical Center and was in stable condition yesterday evening. His wife said he was in too much pain to talk.

Three other members of the tactical squad trained for drug raids, were shot while exchanging fire with the gunman. Sgt. Paul Gibbs and Officers William Strickland and Terry Shea escaped injury in the hail of gunfire when the bullets struck their helmets and protective vests, police said. Officer Shea also protected himself with a shield.

Corporal Doran, who was wearing a vest that had a loose flap, is the first law-enforcement officer to be shot in Annapolis since 1987. The city has witnessed sporadic drug problems but little violence, with only two homicides last year.

After conducting an undercover drug buy and obtaining a search warrant, the team members tried to break down the front door of the first-floor apartment at Clay and West Washington streets shortly after 1:15 a.m. They ended up having to ram through the door, Police Chief Harold Robbins said.

"Apparently they had some warning that we were coming," said Chief Robbins, who spent hours with the officers at the scene. He credited the team's training and equipment with saving its members' lives.

Four separate investigations will be made into the shooting, including an internal critique of the tactical operation and a separate investigation by the state's attorney's office.

Inside the apartment, the officers were confronted by two women and two men. They were questioning the group when Sergeant Gibbs noticed

a man lurking in the back of a long hall near the bathroom.

The man fired a revolver, and the bullet struck Sergeant Gibbs' protective vest, causing him to stagger backward, according to police records filed in District Court. The surprised officers then exchanged at least a dozen shots with the gunman, identified as Daryl LaMonte Jones, of Fruitwood Court in Bowie.

Mr. Jones was treated for gunshot wounds in his left forearm and shoulder at Anne Arundel Medical Center before being released to police custody. He is being held without bail in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center on four charges of assault with intent to murder, one count of using a handgun in the commission of a crime and one count of reckless endangerment.

In December 1991, Mr. Jones was charged with first-degree attempted murder after he and two accomplices allegedly "kicked and stomped" on an Annapolis man for failing to deliver some crack cocaine at Town Pines Court. The charges were dismissed when the victim didn't show up for the trial.

Seven months ago, a man was killed in the stairwell of the same dilapidated apartment building, at the corner of what community leaders describe as a known open-air drug market.

Detectives searched the apartment where the shooting occurred until yesterday afternoon, but found no drugs.

They confiscated approximately $3,000, however.

Neighbors have long complained about drug dealing, slum-like living conditions and occasional violence in the Clay Street corridor.

The area is only a stone's throw from county government offices andthe historic downtown.

City police are opening a substation on Clay Street next week and have promised to step up foot patrols, said Alderman Dean Johnson, an Independent who represents the area.

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