Unarmed resident slain by intruder Victim's rifle taken by authorities after earlier confrontation

September 19, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Less than a year ago, James Edward Scott shot and wounded an intruder in the back yard of his West Baltimore home, and according to neighbors, authorities took away his gun.

Tuesday night, someone apparently broke into his three-story rowhouse again. But this time, the 83-year-old Scott didn't have his .22-caliber rifle, and police said he was strangled when he confronted the burglar.

"If he would have had the gun, he would be OK," said one neighbor who declined to give his name, fearing retribution from the attacker, who had not been arrested as of yesterday.

The slaying in the 2200 block of W. North Ave. shocked people who knew the elderly man, who had lived there for four decades. He was separated from his wife and lived alone.

Scott spent most of his time repairing and tinkering with an old green pickup truck he parked in an alley in back.

"He was a handyman," said Joseph L. Russ, director of Russ Funeral Home, a few doors from Scott's home. "He worked on his truck every day. It was his hobby."

Neighbors said burglars repeatedly broke into Scott's home. Russ said Scott often talked about "the people who would harass him because he worked out back by himself."

In filing charges against the 30-year-old woman he shot last year, Scott wrote at the end of a court document that the woman was a suspect in several break-ins that "I reported and suffered."

Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman, said detectives know of no suspects in Tuesday's incident. He said the woman Scott shot last year is not a suspect "at this point."

A Western District officer found Scott's body about 9 p.m. Tuesday after Scott's brother called police when he couldn't reach his sibling by telephone.

Weinhold said the back door of the house had been forced open and "there were signs of ransacking inside the dwelling." Investigators have not determined whether anything is missing and are waiting for family members to sort through Scott's belongings.

Police last night were looking for Scott's black 1978 Chrysler, which was missing from the back of his house. It has a Maryland license of RTY-430.

Last year's altercation occurred about 3: 30 p.m. Oct. 17, when Scott said he discovered a woman near one of his back windows.

Scott told police that he got his .22-caliber rifle from his house, threw a rock at his neighbor's window to get help and confronted the woman.

"I told her, 'You better stay there,' " Scott said, according to court documents. "She then said, 'I'll kill you before I let you hold me in here.' She continued to walk toward me with the object in her hands."

Scott told police the rifle fired accidentally.

The woman was struck once in the leg. Police charged Scott with using a deadly weapon with intent to injure, battery and reckless endangerment. The charges were placed on the inactive docket Nov. 21.

Scott swore out charges against the woman, accusing her of attempted burglary, malicious destruction of property, assault and trespassing. Prosecutors dropped three of the charges; a jury found her not guilty on the assault charge.

Pub Date: 9/19/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.