Beating victim credits Annapolis police officer who fatally shot assailant with saving his life

September 05, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Dennis O'Brien contributed to this article.

The victim of Monday's beating in an Annapolis public housing complex said yesterday he might have died if a police officer had not shot his assailants, one of whom died.

Annapolis police said Cochise Ornandez Daughtry, 18, and Vernon Eugene Estep Jr., 19, both of Annapolis, were beating Carlester Jackson with a broken bottle when a police officer shot them, killing Daughtry.

"I think if that officer wasn't there, I wouldn't be here right now," Jackson said from his bed at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

His recollections are at odds with the suspicions of Robinwood community residents, who believe police used excessive force.

Officer David W. Garcia, the seven-year veteran who fired the shots, was placed on administrative leave while Annapolis police and the Anne Arundel County state's attorney investigate. Police are seeking witnesses.

Jackson, who declined to provide details yesterday, confirmed that he had been struck several times over the head and body with a bottle during the fight.

Police said Garcia and Officer Joseph M. Ridley responded to a complaint of gunshots being fired in the 1300 block of Tyler Ave. in the Robinwood community shortly after midnight. Finding nothing amiss, Ridley left to handle another call while Garcia stayed behind.

Garcia saw two men chase a third man -- identified as Jackson, 40, of the 1400 block of Tyler Ave. -- and beat and slash him with a broken, quart-sized beer bottle, according to police.

Garcia ordered the men to stop, but when they refused, he fired four shots, striking Daughtry in the chest and wounding Estep, police said.

The men did not attack the officer, said police officials, who said they believe the fight started over an unpaid drug debt. Court records show no convictions for any of the three on drug charges.

Different versions of what happened surfaced in a skeptical community on the southwestern edge of the city.

A statement Jackson gave detectives Monday said he was returning home from buying beer at Annapolis Wine and Spirits at Forest Drive and Tyler Avenue when he ran into the young men.

Jackson told Detective John Wade that he was walking down an alley when Estep ran up to him and "just hit me right upside the face with the bottle."

"He hit me a couple times and I went down," he said.

Jackson told Wade he could not recall many details, but heard the officer yell "Stop it, halt," and then the beating continued before the shots were fired.

Jackson told detectives he was robbed of $87 and that the officer's arrival may have saved his life.

But community residents questioned Garcia's actions, asking angrily why he did not use pepper spray or fire a warning shot.

Pub Date: 9/05/96

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