Officer kills man holding a knife in Brooklyn

December 17, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer fatally shot a man who authorities said threatened him with a knife yesterday morning outside a Brooklyn house after a domestic dispute that disrupted neighbors.

Police said Arthur Berned, 33, a resident of the house in the 3500 block of Fourth St., was shot several times in the chest. He collapsed face-down in a gutter beside the officer's squad car. A knife with a 10-inch blade lay next to his feet.

The Southern District officer, identified as Scott Pumphrey, 29, who has been on the force for seven years, also accidentally shot a bystander who was in the house that police said the suspect charged out of.

David Kelley, 36, of the 1200 block of Cambria St. was treated at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for a gunshot wound to his arm.

The officer was placed on routine administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation. But supervisors in the homicide unit, who investigate all shootings involving officers, said it appeared to be justified.

The shooting was the culmination of an incident that woke neighbors. It began about 2 a.m., when police were called to the Fourth Street residence to break up an argument involving the female owner of the house and at least one man.

Carrie Smith, who lives next door, said she called police because of the loud noise. "They are constantly fighting," she said of the people who live in or visit the two-story rowhouse, which is owned by a woman who was being questioned yesterday by police. "They are always getting angry at each other. It happens all the time. It went on all summer long."

Police made no arrests at 2 a.m. and were unable to say why yesterday. But Maj. Goldie S. Phillips Jr., head of the homicide unit, said the occupants "had been drinking heavily" all morning.

About 10: 45 a.m., an emergency dispatcher received a 911 call from the house, but the caller hung up without giving any information. The dispatcher sent an officer.

"The officer arrived in front of the residence and immediately noticed a male coming from the front door with a knife in his hand," said Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman. "He advanced very quickly toward the officer, who warned him to drop the knife several times. The suspect refused and still advanced toward the officer."

Weinhold said the officer fired his 9-mm Glock service weapon several times at close range. One bullet missed and hit the bystander inside the house. Police at the scene said the suspect yelled, "I'm going to kill you," several times at the officer.

Pub Date: 12/17/96

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