$1 million sought in suit against six county officers Man sues for damages after being shot by police during search of his home

October 23, 1995|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

A Randallstown man has sued Baltimore County and six county police officers for more than $1 million, alleging that he suffered physical and emotional harm when one of them shot him during a 1992 search of his home.

Clarence Gould Sr., who filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, charges the officers used excessive force while looking for evidence and weapons related to 12 armed robberies in the Liberty Road corridor.

Mr. Gould's son, Clarence Gould Jr., matched the physical description of the robber and was arrested days before the search.

According to the suit, the officers arrived at the elder Mr. Gould's home in the 3800 block of Milford Mill Road at 5:56 a.m. Oct. 18, 1992, and broke down the door without ringing the doorbell. Mr. Gould was sleeping upstairs; his son, now 29, was in the lockup at Wilkens Precinct.

Thinking he was being robbed, the lawsuit states, Mr. Gould reached for a registered .38-caliber revolver from a bedroom closet and was shot twice in the chest by Officer Andrew S. Davis, the only named defendant.

No circumstances "required forcible entry," and the shooting was "done negligently, wantonly, recklessly," the suit says.

Mr. Gould, who is seeking $1 million plus attorney's fees, said a bullet is lodged in his chest next to his lung. He declined to discuss the case further.

Capt. Brian A. Uppercue, a police spokesman, offered a different version of the search and shooting.

He said officers from the Garrison and Woodlawn precincts had a "no-knock" search warrant, signed by a judge, to seek weapons and evidence.

"That means you don't announce your presence," he said. Because "there were a number of weapons used in these crimes that hadn't been recovered when [Clarence Gould Jr.] was arrested, there was a possibility they could be used against officers."

Once inside, the officers "identified themselves as police officers with a search warrant, which they shouted repeatedly," Captain Uppercue said.

Officer Davis saw a light in the bedroom, and when he opened the door, Mr. Gould was partly hidden in the closet, pointing a revolver at him, the spokesman said. Officer Davis, wearing a badge around his neck, identified himself and ordered Mr. Gould to drop his gun, he said.

"When he didn't comply, Officer Davis shot him," Captain Uppercue said.

He said Officer Davis' only shot hit a door jamb near Mr. Gould; the bullet broke into fragments, some of which hit Mr. Gould.

The homicide unit investigated the shooting and deemed it "within policy of the Police Department," the spokesman said.

All the officers involved in the incident still work for the department.

Officer Davis is assigned to the Tactical Unit. The spokesman said the other officers were Cpl. Lee Russo, now a sergeant in the Training Division in North Point; Officer Lisa Allewalt of the Garrison Precinct; Officer Philip Crumbacker of the Tactical Unit; Officer Martin Lippy of Eastern Traffic Division; and Officer Michael Prendergast of the White Marsh Precinct.

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