Officer describes confrontation with gunman that left him hurt

November 14, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

First they tried a bullhorn. Then they threw a phone into the house. But the man who had barricaded himself inside wouldn't talk to the police officers, who wanted to negotiate a peaceful surrender Friday afternoon.

But police ended up in a gunfight in Southwest Baltimore that left the suspect dead and the team leader, Sgt. Christopher Street, seriously injured. The wounded officer recalled the battle yesterday and his terrifying moments confronting a man suspected of shooting at a police colleague from Baltimore County the night before.

Street pulled down the door to the attic crawl space and confronted the gunman. "We were still shouting up there and calling his name, trying to get him to answer us," he said. "But we called his name, and his response was to shoot me."

Two days after being released from Maryland Shock Trauma Center and still sporting a sling, Street, 39, said the bullet penetrated his protective vest and entered the top of his shoulder. It damaged his shoulder socket, shredded muscle tissue, broke two ribs, clipped his lung and is behind a kidney.

"I can move my fingers and my elbow," the 17-year veteran officer said. "There's going to be a lot of therapy. There's some severe damage to the joint. Only time will tell what I can do and what I can't do."

His wife, Maureen Rowland, a lawyer who works for the public defender's office, said she is proud of her husband's work. "I would never ask him not to do this anymore," she said.

Street said he has a long recovery ahead, but he plans to return to the tactical unit. "I've got the best job in the department," he said, adding that the goal of every mission is to "get everyone out in one piece. We almost made it."

Pub Date: 11/14/96

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