Fugitive is slain as he draws a gun, whirls on officer

January 07, 1994|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Staff Writer Staff writer Jim Haner contributed to this article.

A Baltimore police officer shot and killed a suspected drug dealer in an east side alley early yesterday after the man drew a 9-mm semiautomatic pistol from his waistband during a foot chase and turned to face the officer, police said.

Eastern District Officer Richard Heymann, 23, was not injured, and prosecutors ruled preliminarily that he had fired justifiably in self-defense.

The dead man was identified as Ronald Darnell White, 24, of the 2300 block of E. Lafayette Ave. Residents of the area and at least one witness described Mr. White as a neighborhood drug dealer.

Officer Heymann and two other uniformed officers were in separate marked police cars patrolling near Federal Street and North Montford Avenue shortly after midnight Thursday morning when they saw three men standing at the corner, police spokesman Sam Ringgold said.

"The officers saw hand movements between the three and it appeared they were involved in a drug deal," he said.

The officers then stopped their cars in the 1600 block of N. Montford Ave., just north of the corner, and walked toward the three men, who ran off in different directions. Officer Heymann chased one of the men into an alley behind the 2400 block of Federal St., ordering him repeatedly to stop. At least one witness nearby confirmed hearing the officer's commands, said police agent Doug Price.

The suspect then veered left, down an alley behind the 1600 block of N. Montford Ave. He was about 30 feet up the alley when Officer Heymann began to catch up with him. The man then reportedly reached into his waistband, stopped and began to turn to his right toward the officer.

Mr. Ringgold said Officer Heymann warned the man again to stop, unholstered his Glock 9-mm semiautomatic handgun and fired three times from a range of about 10 feet. All three bullets hit Mr. White in the right side. Mr. White was pronounced dead at the scene moments later. Police found a loaded 9-mm pistol near the body.

The two other men escaped.

Officer Heymann was placed on administrative duty pending an investigation, Mr. Ringgold said.

Assistant State's Attorney Don Giblin said final results of his investigation into the shooting will be released later this month, "but in this particular case it appears to be well within the scope" of department guidelines on the use of deadly force.

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