Man gets life term in shooting of officer Judge calls attack 'cowardly'

March 30, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

Timothy Alan Braswell received a life sentence plus 20 years yesterday for shooting a Baltimore County policeman in the back as the officer sat in a patrol car in a Hillendale apartment complex in September.

Calling the unprovoked shooting "an attack on civilization," Circuit Judge Dana M. Levitz sentenced Braswell, 23, of the 7100 block of McClean Blvd. to maximum consecutive terms for first-degree attempted murder and use of a handgun.

A protective vest saved Officer Peter Hanlon, 30, who was treated and released from the Maryland Shock Trauma Center after the 12:20 a.m. attack Sept. 6 at the Northbrook Apartments, according to police spokesmen.

Judge Levitz said the crime was unique because the officer hadn't had any contact with Braswell, unlike recent attacks on police in which the officers had confronted a suspect.

According to trial testimony, Officer Hanlon had stopped by an apartment in the complex after receiving a complaint about a loud party and later returned to the area to keep an eye on the complex as he did some paperwork.

Witnesses from the party testified that Braswell asked for someone's gun and said, "I'm going to go out and kill that cop" and "I've always wanted to cap a cop."

"It was an attempt to snuff out the officer's life, not because he was any threat to Braswell, but solely as a symbol of our collective protector," Judge Levitz said.

He added that Officer Hanlon was attacked "in the most cowardly way possible: He was approached from the back; he was shot at close range with a .357 Magnum . . ."

Fortunately, the judge said, "The bullet directed to his head was deflected by the metal cage of the police car. One of the bullets struck in the kidney area, and if not for the bulletproof vest, Officer Hanlon would undoubtedly be dead.

"What kind of person shoots another person in the back . . . just to see what it's like?" the judge asked, referring to a pre-sentence report labeling Braswell "violent and explosive."

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