Officer shoots suspect during struggle

April 22, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

A 37-year-old burglary suspect was shot by an Eastern District police officer yesterday morning during a struggle in the rear yard of a house in the 900 block of N. Washington St., Baltimore police reported.

The shooting victim, Paul Wesley Johnson of the 2500 block of E. Biddle St., was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was reported in fair and stable condition last night with a gunshot wound of the right side.

The incident began just after 5 a.m. when residents in the 900 block of N. Chapel St. called police to report a break-in at a vacant house in the neighborhood, said Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman.

Mr. Ringgold said when Eastern District Officer Carter H. Myer arrived, he "saw the suspect fleeing the house with a bag of merchandise."

Officer Myer, 45, pursued the man to an alleyway between Chapel and Washington streets. The officer apprehended the suspect in a yard in the rear of the 900 block of N. Washington St., Mr. Ringgold said.

As the officer, a 23-year veteran, got one of the handcuffs on the suspect, a struggle ensued. The officer drew his 9 mm Glock service pistol, and it discharged during the struggle, Mr. Ringgold said.

Police recovered a green plastic garbage bag at the scene. It contained some copper tubing and small tools believed to have been taken from a city-owned house. The city is in the process of renovating the house that was burglarized, Mr. Ringgold said.

The theft of copper tubing and other salvageable items is a constant problem in the inner city, particularly in vacant houses.

Drug addicts are known to sell the items to salvage companies and use the proceeds to purchase narcotics, police said.

Police said the man would be charged when he is released from the hospital.

Officer Myer was placed on routine administrative duties while the matter is investigated. The shooting will eventually be turned over to the state's attorneys' office for evaluation.

City police have shot six people so far this year -- five died from their wounds. Last year, city police shot and killed eight people.

Last Friday a 14-year-old youth was killed when shot in the back by a city police officer after a stolen car chase.

Stuart O. Simms, the state's attorney, sent the case to a grand jury for investigation.

Mr. Simms expressed concern that the spate of police shootings may be a reaction to violence directed at police officers.

Last year, two city police officers were shot in mid-September. One officer was fatally wounded when he answered a call about a domestic dispute. Another policeman, Officer James E. Young, suffered severe brain damage when he was shot at the Flaghouse Courts public housing complex.

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