Robbery suspect shot in Carney lot Off-duty police officers pursue man from bank

August 28, 1998|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

An off-duty Baltimore City police officer shot and wounded a bank robbery suspect in the parking lot of a busy shopping center near Carney yesterday morning, county police said.

The suspect, identified as James Austin Outten, 47, of the 3600 block of Southern Ave. was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with gunshot wounds in his chest, arm and leg. He was stable in serious condition yesterday, according to hospital officials.

Police took into custody a second man who waited in the car's back seat during the robbery, said Baltimore County police spokesman Sgt. Kevin B. Novak. That man was not identified. Neither had been formally charged yesterday.

About 11: 30 a.m. yesterday, a man walked into Chesapeake Federal Savings and Loan at 2001 E. Joppa Road, next to the Perring Plaza shopping center. Police said the manager recognized him. The bank had been robbed three times in the last five weeks, Novak said. The manager alerted the other employees and the bank's security guard, an off-duty county officer.

The man approached a teller, indicated she should know what to do because he had been there before and demanded money. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of money. The man left the bank and started toward a Dodge Aries station wagon parked between the bank and a Denny's restaurant next door.

Two off-duty police officers who had been inside the bank followed him outside. Police said Michael Kirschner, a Baltimore City officer with seven years' experience assigned to the tactical unit, was visiting someone in the bank, while the other, a Baltimore County officer, was working part time as a plainclothes security guard. His name was not released because he works undercover much of the time, according to Novak.

After identifying themselves, the police officers ordered the man to stop. The man instead got in the car and began driving as the officers ran beside the moving car. The driver reached for Kirschner's gun, Novak said, and the two men struggled as the car moved forward. Kirschner fired three times, striking the driver at least twice, Novak said. No one else was injured.

The bank had been robbed on July 24, July 30 and Aug. 15, police said.

"This bank keeps getting robbed," said Dawn Vitocolonna, who works the morning shift at the restaurant. The robberies were frightening, she said, because of the uncertainty: "You don't know if he's going to pull out a gun."

Kirschner, the city officer, will be placed on administrative duty while the shooting is investigated by Baltimore County police and by his own department, said city police spokesman Scott Rowe. The Baltimore County officer will have "no change in his duty status," Novak said.

Pub Date: 8/28/98

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