Suspect kills himself when police try to make arrest Man accused of rape found shot in basement

August 13, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A 21-year-old man wanted on a rape charge apparently shot himself in the head yesterday afternoon, moments after two police officers went inside his mother's West Baltimore house to arrest him, authorities said.

Arian Devon Rich was pronounced dead in the basement of two-story rowhouse in the 800 block of Wildwood Parkway in Edmondson Village. Police said that he suffered a single gunshot wound to the head and that a 9-mm handgun was found near his body.

Rich had been charged with first-degree rape in connection with a July 19 assault on a 17-year-old girl, which allegedly occurred about 4 a.m. at a house in the 700 block of N. Woodington Ave., two blocks away. Police said Rich and the girl were acquaintances.

Two members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, which is directed by the FBI, went to the house about noon to arrest Rich on a warrant and were met by Rich's mother, who let them inside, said Agent Angelique Cook-Hayes, a city police spokeswoman.

The mother called out to her son, who, according to police, answered: "I love you, Mom." The officers, both Maryland state troopers, then heard a gunshot and left the house. Heavily armed tactical officers carrying shields entered 90 minutes later and found Rich dead. Paramedics pronounced him dead at 1: 30 p.m.

Rich's grandmother, Tammie Rich, was angered by what transpired because she believed police waited too long after hearing the shot before going back inside. "They left him for dead," she said.

Rich's mother and other family members, including a small child, were taken by ambulance to an area hospital for observation because of their emotional state. They cried and hugged one another in the street as neighbors gathered.

Tammie Rich, who was not home when the shooting occurred, said she didn't know anything about the crime of which her grandson had been accused. "I don't know what the [rape] charges are all about," she said. "He hasn't been proven guilty. He's a good grandchild. He always respected me."

Cook-Hayes said the troopers followed procedures by waiting for tactical officers to arrive, assess the situation and set up before re-entering the house after hearing the gunshot.

"They were here to serve a felony rape warrant," the spokeswoman said. "They heard a gunshot coming from the basement. He could have been firing at them. They didn't know what the situation was."

Pub Date: 8/13/98

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