Police officer shoots, critically wounds suspect

June 14, 1994|By Michael James | Michael James,Sun Staff Writer

A city police officer shot and critically wounded a 26-year-old man who allegedly pointed a semiautomatic pistol at him on a West Baltimore street early yesterday morning, police reported.

Eric Donte Smith of the 1700 block of Ashburton St. was shot twice in the upper body about 2:30 a.m. during a three-block foot chase that ended in the 2900 block of W. North Ave., police said.

Mr. Smith had been chased there from the 2000 block of N. Dukeland St. by Officer Thomas Mistysyn Jr., 28, police said.

Mr. Smith forced his way into an area rowhouse after being shot and collapsed moments later. He was listed in critical condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

A 9-mm Cobray "assault-type weapon" was seized from the wounded man, police spokesman Sam Ringgold said.

The encounter between the officer and Mr. Smith -- who was being sought on a police warrant charging him with assault, breaking and entering and handgun charges -- began about 1:30 a.m. on North Dukeland Street.

Officer Mistysyn, a uniformed officer assigned to the Southwestern District, had been watching a man covertly from his patrol car when he spotted him with a gun in his waistband, police said.

"The officer approached and identified himself, at which point the suspect pulled the gun from his waistband and pointed it at him," Mr. Ringgold said. "The officer fired one shot, and the suspect ran off."

It is unclear whether Mr. Smith was hit by the bullet, police said. For the next hour, Officer Mistysyn attempted to find the man, who was believed to be hiding in the neighborhood, police said.

The officer spotted him again in the 2700 block of W. North Ave. and again ordered him to surrender, police said.

Officer Mistysyn fired two more shots at the man, who police said apparently never fired his weapon. The officer reported that the man made a sudden movement that seemed to suggest he was going to fire at him, police said.

The man ran two blocks and forced open the door of a house trying to elude the officer, police said. He was found there suffering from gunshot wounds.

Officer Mistysyn, who has been on the police force for four years, has been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation into the incident.

That action is routine in all shootings involving police officers.

Police said they expect to charge Mr. Smith with assault by pointing a weapon, breaking and entering, handgun charges and resisting arrest.

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