Balto. Co. officer shoots, critically injures man in raid

January 08, 1998|By Dail Willis and Suzanne Loudermilk | Dail Willis and Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

In a pre-dawn raid on a staid Lutherville street, a Baltimore County police officer yesterday shot and critically wounded a 38-year-old felon suspected of having illegal weapons.

Bruce McDorman White, 38, of the first block of E. Seminary Ave. was shot three times by Officer Brian Cromer, police spokesman Bill Toohey said.

White was taken to Sinai Hospital with leg and chest wounds. He was in critical condition after lengthy surgery yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Police found two handguns and an M-16 rifle in the house, Toohey said.

For most Marylanders, assault weapons such as an M-16 must be registered. But felons are not allowed under any circumstances to own one, Toohey said. He added that the semiautomatic M-16 had been modified into an automatic weapon, making it a full-fledged machine gun.

"It was a little bit of a shock," said Charles W. White Jr., the wounded man's estranged elder brother who lives in Gardenville in Northeast Baltimore. "My brother has had some problems. As he got older, he was known to have a few firearms."

The "no-knock" warrant, in which officers can enter without permission or announcement, was issued after an unidentified informant told police that Bruce White had several guns in the house, including one automatic weapon.

White was convicted in 1991 of assault and using a handgun to commit a felony, and sentenced to five years in prison.

Police said they used a battering ram to break down the front door. Officers entered a first-floor den where White was sleeping and identified themselves as police.

White woke up, grabbed an M-16 and pointed it at the officers, police said. Cromer then shot him, they said.

Cromer, a 10-year veteran with seven years of experience on the tactical team, was placed on administrative duty until a departmental review of the shooting is complete.

Two other residents were home when the raid occurred. White's father, Charles White Sr., 80, and a second brother, James Anthony "Andy" White, 41, were not injured.

"I heard bang, bang, bam, rap, rap, rap," Andy White said yesterday. "I thought someone was trying to break into the house."

But before White could get out of bed to investigate, police officers burst into his room.

"I held my hands up," he said. "They were in combat gear with machine-gun type weapons."

He said police kept him handcuffed for two hours before telling him his brother had been shot.

He said his brother had bought an assault rifle in 1984.

"I don't think my brother is stupid enough to point a gun at police officers in riot gear," Andy White said. "The only thing I can think of is he was scared."

Family friend and attorney Dennis E. Mitchell, Charlie White and some neighbors described Bruce White as a troubled man with legal and medical problems. Court records show convictions for drug and gun offenses stretching back more than a decade.

Mitchell said Bruce White had quit junior high school, worked briefly and been unemployed since.

His back was seriously injured 10 years ago in a motorcycle accident in which his wife, Patty, died.

In 1991, Bruce White was convicted of assault with intent to maim and a handgun violation after shooting out the car window of a friend when the two quarreled over a small Oriental rug.

hTC "He didn't shoot him," Andy White said yesterday. "He just wanted to make a point."

Pub Date: 1/08/98

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