Officer who shot youth was in fight Earlier fracas left teen in hospital

March 25, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

The Baltimore City police officer who shot and killed a suspected car thief Tuesday was involved in an off-duty fistfight with three Dundalk youths last month -- a fight that started when a snowball hit the policeman's car.

When the fight ended, one of the teen-agers was in the hospital with a broken nose. The policeman charged the youths with robbery and assault, and the juveniles charged the officer with battery.

Officer Nicholas Pelekakis, 37, has been placed on administrative duties while a Baltimore City grand jury investigates an incident in which he shot and killed 15-year-old Antoine Johnson, who allegedly was trying to ram the officer with a stolen car in the 3300 block of Park Circle.

The unrelated Dundalk melee began about 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the 8000 block of Gray Haven Road, when a snowball struck a car that Officer Pelekakis was riding in, according to Baltimore County police reports and court records.

From there, the stories vary. Officer Pelekakis, who was off duty at the time, said he got out of the vehicle and was yelling at one of the juveniles when a second youth knocked him down from behind. Then, the officer charged, all three began kicking him and rifling his pockets, taking $73.

Several other youths from the neighborhood jumped in and broke up the fight, according to Officer Pelekakis' account.

The officer told county police that he and the unidentified youths who had broken up the fight chased down one of his attackers. The officer said he then retrieved a "stick" from his car. When he approached the youth, the youth "kicked" at him, and the officer said he hit the youth in the face and retrieved most of his money.

After the fight, Officer Pelekakis went home, called the county and filed charges against the youths, who were then arrested. Later, the youths filed battery charges against him.

The boy who was struck in the face charged that Officer Pelekakis attacked his two friends, and that he began kicking the officer to save them. After the fight was broken up, the boy said, he saw money on the ground, picked it up, and ran off.

He charged that two older youths caught him and held him while Officer Pelekakis beat him with the stick -- either a nightstick or a metal pole, according to county police.

The youth suffered a broken nose and required six stitches at Franklin Square Hospital.

City police said yesterday that battery charges will not affect Officer Pelekakis' current status. Whether the case ultimately affects his job will depend on the outcome of his April 5 trial in Dundalk District Court, city police said.

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