City officer is arrested in Towson incident Camper is charged with shoplifting, attempted murder

September 27, 1996|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Michael James contributed to this article.

A Baltimore police officer -- already embroiled in a wrongful-death suit -- was in jail yesterday after being charged with shoplifting and the attempted murder of a Baltimore County officer in a bizarre incident at a Towson shopping center Wednesday.

Shean D. Camper, police charge, stole a compact disc player and cassette player from Montgomery Ward at Towson Marketplace, then tried to return the merchandise -- with "sorry" scrawled across a box -- before trying to run down a county officer.

"I have been under a significant amount of stress dealing with all of the things I have been personally involved in," Camper, 26, said during his bail review hearing in Baltimore County District Court in Towson yesterday. He was held in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Camper, a patrol officer from the Northeastern District who has been suspended, said, "It got to the point that I was overwhelmed by it all."

Wednesday's incident, the latest in a string of troubles involving Camper, came two days into a civil trial on a claim filed by the family of a Baltimore man who was fatally shot during a police chase in May 1994.

Although a Baltimore Circuit Court jury in March 1995 cleared Camper of involuntary man-slaughter charges in the death of Jerrod Dwayne Wagstaff, 25, Wagstaff's family is suing Camper for an unspecified amount.

On June 1, in an unrelated incident, Camper shot and critically wounded Michael Harper, 36, who allegedly attacked him with a baseball bat during a traffic dispute in Northeast Baltimore.

Prosecutors declined to charge Camper in that incident, and police ruled the shooting justified.

Harper's sister, Elizabeth Romano, said she attended Camper's bail hearing yesterday because she wanted "to see justice done.

"We heard about this on the news last night," she said.

While Camper was unable to attend the third day of the civil case against him in Baltimore Circuit Court yesterday, the trial continued anyway, with Judge John C. Themelis warning the jury: "I don't want you to add any significance because someone may or may not be here today."

Wednesday's incident began about 7: 30 p.m. when a security officer in Montgomery Ward at Towson Marketplace saw a man stealing the stereo equipment and called police.

Shortly after Officer Darryl Parker arrived at the store, an anonymous caller told police that the stolen property was in a box on the ground next to Parker's police cruiser, charging documents said.

Police said Parker spotted Camper driving out of the parking lot in a maroon Mitsubishi Galant and yelled at him to stop. But as Parker approached the car, Camper told him he would not talk, gunned the engine and drove in Parker's direction, forcing Parker to leap out of the way, charging documents said.

About 10 minutes later, a man called the Montgomery Ward store and asked to speak to Parker. He told Parker that he was the driver of the Galant -- but not the person who stole the stereo equipment.

The caller gave the officer the name of a man he said was the thief and said he simply wanted to return the merchandise and have nothing more to do with it.

Parker tried to coax the caller into giving his name and told him that he knew the Galant was registered to Shean Camper.

The caller replied that the car had been stolen earlier in the day, but Parker told the caller it had never been reported stolen to the police.

Camper then returned to the store and met Parker on the second floor. He told Parker that he was a city police officer and showed him his badge, the charging documents say.

"I'm Shean Camper, you must have heard of me," he told Parker. "I have been all over the news."

The charging documents said Parker told Camper he was "lucky" he did not shoot him when he tried to run Parker down. Camper replied: "You would have been justified," the documents said.

Camper told Parker that he did not really mean to run him down and that he was going to lose his job over this incident.

"How am I going to explain this to my girlfriend?" he asked Parker as they drove to the Towson Precinct, the charging documents said.

According to the documents, when Parker returned the equipment to Montgomery Ward, he noticed that the word "sorry" was written on the box. Camper told him that he had written that on the box because no speakers were with the equipment.

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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