Officer is dragged by car, shoots and kills its driver

January 25, 1995|By Robert Hilson Jr. and Richard Irwin | Robert Hilson Jr. and Richard Irwin,Sun Staff Writers

A police officer shot and killed a man who sped off when the officer leaned into the man's car to turn off the engine during a traffic stop in Southwest Baltimore last night, dragging the officer several feet, police said.

John Gettier, 31, of the 3200 block of Violet Ave. in Lansdowne was taken by ambulance to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died at 7:30 p.m., police said.

Officer Scott G. Serio, 25, who has been with the department about 18 months, had his head, right shoulder and right arm inside the car when the motorist gunned the engine and drove away, police said. The officer sustained minor injuries and did not require hospitalization, said police spokesman Sam Ringgold.

Police said the incident occurred shortly after 6 p.m. when Officer Serio stopped a 1988 Pontiac Firebird in the 2600 block of Harman Ave. The officer had seen the driver of the Firebird "peeling rubber" in the 2600 block of Puget St.

The officer checked on the motorist's driver's license by radio and learned that it had been suspended, Mr. Ringgold said, then called for backup units.

After the backup units arrived, Officer Serio approached the car, leaned inside the driver's-side window and attempted to turn off the engine when the man refused to do so, police said. The driver then put the car in gear and sped off, dragging the officer, police said.

Officer Serio, with his head and upper right torso inside the car, ordered the motorist to stop, Mr. Ringgold said. When the motorist refused, the left-handed Officer Serio pulled his 9 mm, semiautomatic service pistol from its holster and shot the man once in the left side and once in the left shoulder, then fell to the pavement, police said.

Police said the car continued along the street and came to a stop a half-block away after blowing out a front tire when it struck a curb.

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