Racetrack security guard kills friend, then fatally shoots self, police say

May 24, 1998|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

A racetrack security guard killed a woman friend before turning a rifle on himself, ending a standoff with Howard County police early yesterday at the woman's home, police said.

Police said Joanne Elizabeth Olmert, 35, also a racetrack worker, died in the driveway of her home in the 7700 block of Sharewood Drive in Jessup after being shot Friday night.

Her assailant, James Charles Campbell, 37, of the 7700 block of Helen Way in Elkridge, was found dead inside the house several hours later, police said.

Screams and gunshots prompted neighbors to call police.

Norma Myers, who lives a few doors away, said yesterday that she saw Olmert crawl out the front door.

Other neighbors told of seeing a man fire a rifle at her from the doorway, then dart back inside as she collapsed in the driveway.

Officers surrounded the house and cordoned off the neighborhood for several hours but got no response as they used a bullhorn and called from a helicopter in trying to persuade the assailant to surrender.

A tenant in the house, Barbara Studer, was led to safety from her basement apartment before police fired tear gas canisters through a window.

About 3: 45 a.m., officers entered the house and found the man's body.

Police said he died of a self-inflicted rifle wound.

Olmert worked in the thoroughbred racing industry at Pimlico, Laurel and Bowie, where she helped exercise and ready horses for races.

Campbell was employed by the tracks as a security guard.

"This is normally a friendly, very quiet neighborhood," said Patricia Morgan, a neighbor who told of often seeing Olmert walking her three dogs and parking a horse van near the house.

Pub Date: 5/24/98

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