Bondsman shoots man in chase

July 08, 1995|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

The city state's attorney's office is reviewing whether a bail bondsman was justified yesterday in shooting a man wanted on suspicion of jumping bail who the bondsman said was attacking him.

Two bail bondsmen told police that Gary Jenkins, 27, of no known address, was shot in self-defense. But police said several witnesses reported that one of the bondsmen shot Mr. Jenkins in the buttocks as he ran down the street.

Officer Sabrina V. Tapp-Harper, a city police spokeswoman, said no one was charged in yesterday's incident, which began about 6 a.m. in the 400 block of Gold St. on the city's west side.

"There is conflicting information between witnesses and the bail bondsmen," Officer Tapp-Harper said. She said that the reports will be sorted out by prosecutors, who must decide whether charges should be filed.

The two bail bondsmen involved in the incident, identified by police as David L. Pinsky, 50, and Joseph R. Engle, 29, who work for Diamond Bail Bonds, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But the company president, Stanley Diamond, defended his employees. "The guy swung a tire iron and tried to kill the men," he said. "This was the third time we grabbed him. The other times he hit us and beat us and ran away. We can't take no more beatings from a guy."

Mr. Diamond said an informant tipped his two workers that the man -- wanted on suspicion of skipping out on $10,000 bail in connection with a drug charge from Baltimore County -- was hiding under blankets in the back of a van in the 400 block of Gold St.

Police said the bail bondsmen -- who have authority to take people into custody, similar to a bounty hunter -- tried to handcuff the man when a struggle broke out. Police said the man broke free, ran down the street and was caught again.

Officer Harper said one of the bail bondsmen fired his handgun twice in the air to warn the suspect.

The spokeswoman said the bail bondsmen told investigators TC that two more shots were fired during the second struggle. One round struck the man.

But detectives are confronted with a different version.

"Witnesses report observing the bail bondsmen involved in a struggle," Officer Tapp-Harper said. "But they report that the suspect was able to break away and that two rounds were shot at the victim while he was running."

Mr. Jenkins suffered a bullet wound to the right side of his buttocks, police said. He was listed in fair condition yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Police said they found a wrench in the man's coat pocket when he was arrested in a doorway of a nearby apartment building.

Once released from the hospital, police said he will be turned over to authorities in Baltimore County, where he faces drug distribution charges. Court records show he was released on $10,000 bail Feb. 15.

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