4 witnesses blame police in shooting

February 04, 1994|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Sun Staff Writer

An article in yesterday's Maryland section incorrectly reporte Anthony Darryl Redd's name and his address. He lives in the 1500 block of Stonewood Road.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Police and civilian witnesses are giving sharply divergent accounts about the East Baltimore shooting of a 31-year-old man who died Wednesday after being shot twice -- by his own gun and by a police officer's weapon.

Four witnesses yesterday blamed two police officers for the death of Anthony Darry Redd of the 5100 block of Stonewood Road, saying the officers shot him as he lay helpless on the ground in a drug-plagued area near Green Mount Cemetery. Detectives said Mr. Redd was shot as he tried to get control of a gun that officers had taken from his waistband.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The officers involved in the shooting, Lewis G. Yamin, 28, a three-year veteran, and Stephen C. Nalewajko Jr., 36, a 13-year veteran, were assigned to the department's violent crimes task force. The officers, who could not be reached for comment, have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation.

The shooting occurred near the corner of Holbrook and Hoffman streets in a neighborhood infested with drug trafficking. Mr. Redd, who had a long criminal record, including a conviction for manslaughter, was carrying a .357-caliber revolver when he was stopped by Officers Yamin and Nalewajko Wednesday night.

Several witnesses and the victim's mother said yesterday that the shooting was not justified.

"They probably would have treated a dog better," Mildred Redd said, fighting back tears. She said her son lived with her in Northwood, on a street of tidy rowhouses, but spent much of his time in a neighborhood that East Baltimore residents concede is drug-ridden.

Hopee Harding of the 1400 block of Holbrook St. said she saw the shooting from her second-story window about 90 feet away. She said she could not see how Mr. Redd posed a threat to the officers' safety at the time of the shooting.

Ms. Harding said Mr. Redd was on his back, with one officer perched on his chest and neck, the other officer on his stomach. She said police had disarmed Mr. Redd, and that one of the officers hit him on the head with a gun. She said Mr. Redd's hands were near his head when the shots were fired.

"The short officer said, 'He's got a gun,' " she said, adding that the other officer removed the gun. "The short one said, 'Shoot the [expletive].' That's when the gun went, 'Pow!' "

Then, the officer whom she described as "the short one" shot Mr. Redd in the face, Ms. Harding said, noting that the sidewalk was illuminated by a streetlight.

Two other women who had been looking out the window of Ms. Harding's home gave similar versions, but one of them, Faye Johnson, said there was only one shot.

Veronica Henderson, Ms. Harding's goddaughter who was visiting the Holbrook address Wednesday, said the incident began when an unmarked police car stopped in front of Mr. Redd and another man as they stood at Hoffman and Holbrook.

Ms. Henderson said Mr. Redd and the other man separated, but the two officers quickly caught Mr. Redd and threw him against a wall. She said Mr. Redd was struggling to get free and screamed to police that he had not done anything wrong.

Rhonda Jackson, who said she watched the incident from her stoop across Holbrook Street, said two shots were fired in rapid succession after Mr. Redd was disarmed. She said she heard one officer tell the other to shoot Mr. Redd. She said the officer stood up and shot Mr. Redd.

Agent Doug Price, a police spokesman, said detectives interviewed seven witnesses, whose accounts differed. He said he is awaiting a report from the state medical examiner's office.

Detectives said that after throwing Mr. Redd to the ground the officers saw a revolver in his waistband and removed it, but he grabbed it and tried to aim it at one of the officers. They said that's when the officer shouted, "Shoot him."

Agent Price said police also are investigating the shot to the face, which detectives say was fired because there was a threat. said the department's lethal-force policy permits officers to use deadly force only when there is a "clear and present danger" to life or safety.

"Every time there is a shooting in Baltimore City, witnesses lie," said Henry L. Belsky, a lawyer for the Fraternal Order of Police. He said Mr. Redd provoked the shooting.

Mr. Redd had a criminal history dating to 1978. He was convicted of manslaughter in 1987 and served a two-year jail term with eight years of his sentence suspended. He was given a two-year suspended sentence and two years of probation in 1989 after pleading guilty to drug possession and conspiracy.

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