Protective vest spares officer shot in park scuffle

March 18, 1995|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,Sun Staff Writer

A protective vest saved a city police officer from serious injury yesterday when he was shot as he tried to break up a fight among several youths at Gwynns Falls Park in West Baltimore.

Officer Charles A. Seward Jr., 24, was shot in the chest about 3:15 p.m. in the southeast section of the park at Norris Road and W. NorthAvenue.

The bullet lodged in the officer's protective vest, said Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman. The officer was taken by ambulance to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center as a precautionary measure and was released soon after.

"The vest saved him from injury," Mr. Ringgold said, adding that Officer Seward received only bruises on the left side of his chest.

Officer Seward was among several Southwestern District officers assigned to areas near Walbrook High School to ensure the safety of students at dismissal, according to police spokeswoman Officer Sabrina V. Tapp-Harper.

When Officer Seward -- who has been with the department for less than 18 months -- tried to separate the battling youths, at least one shot was fired, she said.

No other injuries were reported, and police were unsure how many shots were fired.

Six male juveniles were taken into custody, but none has been charged.

No weapon was recovered, police said.

Residents have not complained of problems with students at school dismissal, police said. But several Southwestern District officers are placed "strategically" on foot in the community near the school, Officer Tapp-Harper said.

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