Police sergeant driving home from his desk job arrests suspect in killing Patrol veteran finds weapon pointed at him when he stops at shooting

October 01, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

As a supervisor in the Baltimore Police Department's communications division, Sgt. Charles Snitzel is the vital link between a citizen in crisis and a police officer who can race to the rescue.

But driving home from work Tuesday night, it was Snitzel who needed help. Watching a man shoot at another man, Snitzel drew his weapon and faced off with the gunman 20 feet away.

Snitzel was wearing his uniform but had no radio, telephone or bulletproof vest. Finally, the gunman dropped his weapon and surrendered. A woman dialed 911 from an apartment, getting the sergeant the help he needed.

"Usually I'm the one on the phone," the 18-year veteran said yesterday while recalling his off-duty arrest. "It's funny being on the opposite end."

Snitzel had witnessed the final moments of what turned out to be the city's 242nd homicide of the year. Frank Evans, 19, of the 400 block of N. Port St. was hit several times and was pronounced dead at 2: 30 a.m. yesterday at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Snitzel saw one of two men fire about three more times even as the sergeant trained his gun on the assailant. He said it was the closest he has come to firing his weapon on the street.

The shooting occurred minutes after 10 p.m. at North Milton Avenue and East Fayette Street.

Gregory Deramus, 23, of the 500 block of N. Luzerne Ave. was charged with first-degree murder. A second person was being sought.

Detectives said yesterday they have no idea why the shooting occurred. And Snitzel, who patrolled the streets in the violent Western District for more than a decade, had to call his wife, Barbara, and tell her that even having a desk job doesn't guarantee safety.

"She just told me to take a different route home," he said.

Pub Date: 10/01/98

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