Suspect dies, officer is wounded after chase Alleged drug dealer shot by police bullets in apparent struggle in alley

January 14, 1998|By Peter Hermann and Jamie Smith | Peter Hermann and Jamie Smith,SUN STAFF

A suspected drug dealer was killed and a city police officer wounded yesterday afternoon when the two apparently struggled for the officer's gun in a West Baltimore alley, police said.

Officer Shane C. Stufft, who celebrated his 25th birthday 10 days ago, underwent surgery last night at Union Memorial Hospital's hand center. Police said a bullet fired from the officer's gun passed through his left forefinger and hit the suspect.

Officer Gary McLhinney, the police union president, said it was unclear last night whether the officer would be able to retain the finger. He described the confrontation in the 2200 block of Brunt St. as a "life-and-death struggle. We're very fortunate that the officer survived."

Derek McIntosh, 25, of the 4400 block of Old Court Road in Pikesville was pronounced dead at the scene, said Agent Ragina L. Cooper, a police spokeswoman. Police said he had been shot twice, once in the chest and once in the neck.

Police called for extra officers to cordon off nearby streets and to keep watch on a small but restless crowd that had gathered at Gold and Brunt streets. Several people condemned the shooting and shouted expletives at officers.

The incident began about 2: 30 p.m., when two plainclothes officers responded on foot to an anonymous 911 call by a resident who complained of suspected drug dealing in the 1500 block of Woodyear St. in Druid Heights.

Cooper said the undercover officers witnessed what they thought was a man selling drugs from the trunk of a parked Honda Accord. They confronted the man, who took off running.

Stufft, in plain clothes and driving an unmarked Chevy Cavalier, chased the suspect two blocks to an alley off Brunt Street, between Gold and Baker streets. The area is well-known for violence and drugs and for the CBS crew, a gang named after the streets of Calhoun, Baker and Stricker.

Cooper said Stufft told investigators that he got out of his car with his gun in one hand and police radio in the other and fought with the unarmed suspect.

Police said Stufft's Glock 9 mm semiautomatic handgun discharged twice during what McLhinney described as a prolonged struggle with the suspect that left the officer with numerous cuts and bruises.

One of the bullets passed through the officer's left forefinger and struck the suspect, Cooper said, but it was not immediately clear which bullet caused which wound. McLhinney said suspected drugs -- either cocaine or heroin -- were found at the shooting scene, some in the hands of the dead man.

The two officers who witnessed the alleged drug deal were on foot and did not make it to the alley in time to see the confrontation, but did hear the shots, Cooper said. McIntosh's body was found lying face up by a telephone pole in an alley overgrown with weeds.

Homicide detectives briefly interviewed Stufft as he was being treated by paramedics but were not able to question him at the hospital. Stufft has been on the force three years and is assigned to the Western District. McLhinney said the officer was in severe pain and had been medicated. His parents were by his side.

Police said a young woman, who bystanders said was McIntosh's girlfriend, arrived at the scene crying and was comforted by onlookers.

The woman did not comment, but her friends said they did not believe the police version of events.

However, a police commander at the scene said the evidence recovered appeared consistent with what Stufft told investigators.

Pub Date: 1/14/98

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