Harford police hunt 'armed and violent' man

October 31, 1998|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Harford County sheriff's deputies cordoned off a 3-square-mile area in Joppatowne yesterday while they searched for a convicted killer who apparently vowed to "shoot a cop first" if police tried to arrest him.

Richard Vito Genna, 35, of an unknown address was sought on warrants for nonsupport, violation of probation and failure to appear in court, said Sgt. Edward Hopkins, sheriff's spokesman.

"He knew he was wanted," Hopkins said, adding that he was told Genna had vowed "he would shoot a cop first before he went back to jail. We consider him armed and violent."

Genna was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to seven years in prison after shooting his brother in 1983, Hopkins said. Police have been searching for him for almost a month because of the outstanding warrants, Hopkins said.

The search intensified after Genna ran away from a traffic stop a week ago, and a weapon was found in his car.

Yesterday, police said, Genna was driving his Jeep Cherokee south on Route 24 near Edgewood about 4 a.m. when a sheriff's deputy saw him.

The deputy chased the vehicle until Genna stopped in a gravel pit near Fort Hoyle Road. He and his barefoot girlfriend, Barbara Estelle Gamache, 28, also of an unknown address, jumped out of the vehicle and fled, Hopkins said.

Roadblocks were set up on Route 152 and Fort Hoyle Road, Joppa Road and U.S. 40 and Trimble Road and Route 152.

Police searched cars and asked residents to stay indoors, Hopkins said. An automated telephone system, which dials numbers in a specified area, was used to notify residents about the search.

Assisting Harford authorities were the Maryland State Police, the police at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland Natural Resources Police and Baltimore County police.

Pub Date: 10/31/98

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