Man convicted of attempted murder of police officer Defendant fired at sergeant in raid

September 02, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A Circuit Court jury convicted a 21-year-old Annapolis man of second-degree attempted murder yesterday for shooting at an Annapolis police officer during a drug raid in February.

Darryl Lamonte Jones of the 300 block of Center St. was convicted by a jury of eight women and four men that deliberated four hours after a 3 1/2 -day trial before Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth.

Jurors convicted Jones of second-degree attempted murder in the shooting at Sgt. Paul Gibbs, along with assault with intent to murder. They also convicted him of three counts of assault with intent to maim, three counts of assault and battery and charges of reckless endangerment and handgun charges.

But the jury found him not guilty of attempted murder of Cpl. James Doran and Officer Terry Shea, two other officers who participated in the Feb. 19 drug raid.

Jones testified that he shot at the officers dressed in all-black commando gear when they burst into a friend's apartment at 1 a.m. Feb. 19 because he had been robbed twice and thought they were thieves trying to rob him again.

Four officers who participated in the raid, all members of the Annapolis Special Emergency Team, testified that they repeatedly yelled "police" and "search warrant" as they crashed into the apartment on Washington and Clay streets with a battering ram.

They continued to yell as they ran through the four-room apartment, according to testimony.

The first officer through the apartment's rear door, Terry Shea, found a man in the kitchen and stepped toward him to search for weapons, according to testimony.

Sergeant Gibbs, 43, stepped by and ran down the central hallway, where he found a locked bedroom door. He forced it open and found Jones pointing his .22-caliber pistol at him, according to testimony.

The two men exchanged gunfire, with the officer getting off 16 shots from his 9-mm Beretta. The 20-year veteran later found a bullet lodged in the collar of his bullet-proof vest.

Cpl. James Doran, who was with another suspect in a nearby bathroom, turned to help Sergeant Gibbs when the gunfire started, but was shot in the abdomen and left leg.

Jones surrendered when Officer Shea ran at him using a bullet-proof shield for cover.

Corporal Doran, a 15-year veteran who became the first law-enforcement officer to be shot in Annapolis since 1987, described the scene as a "hail of gunfire." He said it lasted about 10 to 15 seconds.

In closing arguments yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney Fred Paone said it was clear that Jones, who was carrying $3,200 lTC when arrested, was a drug dealer out to protect the cash he had that night.

"You know what this case amounts to. It amounts to a drug dealer versus the police. He chose a lifestyle that put him in the circumstance he found himself in," the prosecutor said. Mr. Paone emphasized that the defendant was unemployed, described himself as a former drug dealer and could neither remember the year he finished high school nor explain the huge amounts of cash he carried.

Mr. Paone introduced into evidence the bullet-riddled bedroom door Sergeant Gibbs crashed through. He also made sure jurors saw the officer's bullet-proof shield, Jones' pistol and the police department's 60-pound metal battering ram, which clanged like a fire bell when it fell on to the courthouse floor.

Assistant Public Defender Keith Gross said Jones had reason to be afraid of the officers.

They were heavily armed, dressed in all-black uniforms and wearing only small police insignia on their shirtsleeves. Some wore black ski masks and goggles to make them look even more intimidating, according to testimony.

Pointing out that no drugs were found in the apartment that night, Mr. Gross asked jurors why Jones would intentionally shoot at a police officer who posed no threat to his cash.

It was because the officer came at him with his gun drawn and he feared for his life, Mr. Gross said.

"Within three seconds, he had to decide, do I live or die," Mr. Gross said. "You put yourself in that situation. Ask yourself what you would do."

;/ Judge Rushworth set sentencing for Oct. 18.

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