An apparent drug dispute in Brooklyn led to the shooting of two people early yesterday and sparked a "running gunbattle" with police officers that ended with a 27-year-old suspect dead.
Ten police officers and the suspect exchanged more than 50 shots during four encounters outside a home and on a nearby street corner. Police said they killed Darren L. Jamison on a softball field when he threatened them with a .45-caliber handgun.
It was "basically a running gunbattle," said Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier. "We have officers who returned fire."
Though police said they didn't know what sparked the initial shooting of a 30-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl, residents said Jamison of the 3400 block of Fairsun Court in Curtis Bay had been involved in a turf war between two rival drug gangs, one based in Brooklyn, the other in Cherry Hill.
They said the shootout arose over the use of a drug stash house in Brooklyn Homes public housing complex. Police sources confirmed that Jamison had been a drug dealer, and law enforcement officials were angry yesterday that he was out of jail.
Police believe Jamison was released from prison in April after serving five years on an assault charge.
His record is long and includes convictions on drug charges. But many cases against him were not prosecuted, drawing complaints from police.
"It is a cause for concern," one top commander said. "That's what routinely happens. This guy should not have been out walking the streets. And this happens all the time."
Jamison was shot twice in the chest last week, but not injured seriously because he was wearing a bulletproof vest, said an acquaintance, Tony Pearson, 23.
Southern District Lt. Clifton Cavey said there "always has been a squabble between Cherry Hill and Brooklyn," but he said officers knew nothing about a war between drug gangs. "We have no knowledge that this had anything to do with a gang rivalry," he said.
Yesterday's incident began about 1: 10 a.m. when, police said, Jamison opened fire on two people sitting on steps in the 4200 block of Thayer Court. Police said the 30-year-old was hit in the abdomen. They said the 15-year-old girl was hit in the abdomen, buttocks and hip. Both were in critical condition yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
A police officer heard the shots and chased Jamison into a nearby house in the 800 block of Clint-wood Court. Moments later, Jamison emerged and shot at officers, who returned fire.
Police said Jamison went back into the house and came out the back, where he got into a gunfight with officers. He then shot his way out the front door and ran down the street, where he fired on an officer at Sixth Street and Townsend Avenue, police said.
Jamison ran 400 yards to woods, where he hid. But a Maryland State Police helicopter using infrared sensors flushed him out, and police said he emerged onto a softball field and confronted five officers.
"He refused to drop the gun and pointed it at the officers," said Agent Ragina L. Cooper, a city police spokeswoman. She said all five officers opened fire, hitting Jamison several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Betty Martis, 55, who has lived in the neighborhood since she was 14, said a bullet struck her front door. She said she watched Jamison run up Sixth Street and toward the woods, which people cut through to get to a shopping center in Anne Arundel County.
Martis' next-door neighbor, Sharon Felder, 39, said the violence is a recent phenomenon. "This is the best public housing that there is in Baltimore City," she said.
Pub Date: 10/03/96