Officer Who Killed Suspect Put On Leave Pending Probe

Police Say Shooting Victim Lunged At Patrolman's Gun

April 21, 1997|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer who fatally shot a West Baltimore man suspected of stabbing two women Saturday night has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, a Police Department spokesman said yesterday.

The officer, Patrolman Thomas Allers, 28, of the Southern District, shot Nelson West, 40, after West lunged at Allers' drawn service revolver in a South Baltimore rowhouse, said Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a department spokesman.

Police have not determined a motive in the stabbings at the rowhouse and are investigating, Weinhold said.

"The policy reads that an officer may use deadly force when he believes that his own life or the life of someone else is in imminent danger, or when he or someone else could sustain serious bodily injury," Weinhold said.

Allers was responding to a 911 call about a stabbing at the rowhouse Saturday night when the shooting occurred, police said.

West of the 800 block of Washington Blvd. is believed to have stabbed two women, according to police. He was declared dead Saturday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Weinhold said.

"Once all the facts are gathered, they will be presented to the state's attorney's office to determine whether the officer acted within the scope of his duty," Weinhold said.

Such investigations typically take a week, he said.

Allers, who has been on the force for nine months, arrived at the house in the 1100 block of Carroll St. at 9: 45 p.m. Saturday, Weinhold said.

He found Patricia Ross, 35, outside with a stab wound in her hand and Charlene Marshall, 28, of the 1000 block of Braddish Ave. in the living room with a stab wound in her left arm, Weinhold said.

Allers found West face down on the floor between the living and dining rooms with his hands hidden beneath him, Weinhold said.

Neighbors said Ross' two daughters, ages 3 and 4, were in the dining room but ran out of the house before the shooting.

"The officer, who had his weapon drawn, ordered the suspect several times to move his arms so he could see his hands," Weinhold said.

Ross then entered the home and approached Allers, which "diverted his attention toward the woman. He told her to leave the living room for her own safety," Weinhold said.

"At the same time, the suspect very quickly lunged from the floor toward the officer's weapon. The officer then fired one shot, striking the suspect in the head and killing him," said Weinhold.

West was not armed when he lunged at the officer, but a kitchen carving knife was recovered a foot from his body, Weinhold said.

A small quantity of undetermined narcotics also was found at the house, he said.

Ross and Marshall were treated at the University of Maryland Hospital and released Saturday night.

Neighbors gathered on the street in front of the house yesterday afternoon called West a "quiet-spoken man" who had helped to sweep the sidewalks and take trash to the refuse bin.

Tonya Scott, 23, a neighbor from across the street who has been friends with Ross for a year, said West had been living in the house for about a month.

She said Ross and West, a meat deliveryman, had been casually dating since November.

She said Saturday night wasn't the first time the couple had clashed. They often argued about money, she said, as they had been just before the stabbing.

Ross could not be reached for comment.

Scott said West cared very much for Ross' daughters. She said he often took the girls to the park, read to them and bought them ice cream, candy and other presents.

"You really can't say nothing bad about this man," she said. "He was a good person. He didn't deserve to die."

Pub Date: 4/21/97

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.