Policeman wounds suspect in chase Motorist is accused of trying to hit officer with a stolen car

November 15, 1995|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,SUN STAFF

A Howard County police officer shot a man who police say tried to hit the officer with a stolen car in North Laurel on Monday night. It is the year's first shooting by county police and one of only a few in recent years.

Pfc. Tyrone Queen, a five-year veteran, was on paid administrative leave yesterday pending a meeting with a Police Department psychologist, said Sgt. Steve Keller, a police spokesman. As is standard in such incidents, the shooting will be reviewed by the department.

It was the first shooting by a Howard officer since an incident last year in which an officer's gun went off during an undercover drug transaction and a bullet ricocheted and wounded a man.

Neither officer Queen nor his partner -- recruit Officer Lauren Markley -- was injured in Monday night's incident, and Officer Markley reported for duty yesterday.

The suspect -- who faces charges that include assault with attempt to murder, attempted murder, theft and auto theft -- was in stable condition at Suburban Hospital in Montgomery County yesterday with a groin wound, police said.

Police refused to identify the man, pending notification of relatives.

The incident unfolded at about 9:30 p.m. Monday as the officers tried to stop a late-model Pontiac near Whiskey Bottom Road for a broken rear light, police said.

The car -- reported stolen from Washington and bearing registration plates stolen from Prince George's County -- sped away onto Old Scaggsville Road with the officers in pursuit.

At a dead end, the stolen car crashed through a barri[See Shooting, 5B] cade and onto the grass beyond, police said. The officers were approaching the car on foot when the driver made a U-turn on the grass and drove toward officer Queen, they said.

The officer fired several times at the car with his 9 mm handgun, striking the driver and causing him to veer down a dirt trail over an embankment near the Patuxent River, police said.

The suspect then fled on foot and, after a pursuit that included officers from Laurel and a state police helicopter, was found lying in the woods. He was flown to the hospital by a state police MedEvac helicopter.

Police said that it is highly unusual for Howard officers to be involved in shooting incidents.

Last year in Baltimore, by contrast, officers fired their guns 39 times during confrontations, resulting in eight civilian deaths and 12 injuries, said Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department.

In Howard County, the most serious police-shooting incident in recent years took place in 1993 when a man in a Jessup shopping center sprayed a Howard officer with pepper spray and tried to take his gun. The blinded officer shot the man six times, but did not kill him.

That same officer filed suit against a woman in January after she tried to hit him with her car in an escape during a fraud investigation.

"What we're seeing is crime getting more violent in communities around us, and it's spilling into Howard County," said Cpl. John Paparazzo, the department's chief firearms specialist.

He said that police in Howard "have quite a few encounters with people involved in extensive criminal activity, but officers here are trained very well about when and when not to use deadly force."

Statewide, the annual rate of assaults of all types on law enforcement officers was 31 for every 100 sworn officers, state police said. Of the total 4,178 assaults recorded against officers statewide last year, 11 percent took place during traffic stops and traffic pursuits, according to state police statistics.

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