3 city officers shoot, kill knife-wielding man Shots end standoff in East Baltimore

November 18, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A man who Baltimore police said had repeatedly stabbed his wife was shot and killed by three officers yesterday during what they described as a tense standoff with the knife-wielding suspect.

Dantee Cofield, 24, was pronounced dead at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center shortly after the 7 a.m. shooting. Police said he had been hit several times but didn't have an exact count. Officers fired at least 17 shots.

The confrontation with the officers and the subsequent shooting in the 800 block of Madeira St. were witnessed by several people who live in the six occupied rowhouses on the block. Twenty more are boarded up.

"The officers kept yelling, 'Get down, get down,' " said Barbara Stepney, who said she watched the shooting in front of her house. "But the man kept coming down the street with a knife in his hand."

Stepney said she heard the officers say, "Drop it," several times. "The next thing you know, they started shooting," she said. "They didn't have to shoot him so many times."

The officers told investigators that Cofield, who had a leg prosthesis, raised the knife in a "stabbing motion" several times before they opened fire. "He did threaten the officers with the knife," said Agent Angelique Cook-Hayes, a police spokeswoman.

The Eastern District officers who fired their weapons were identified as Gregg Boyd, 22, who has been on the force two years; Randy Davis, 21, who also has been on the force two years; and Frank Bowers, 24, a five-year veteran. They were placed on routine administrative duty until the outcome of an investigation into the shooting.

The call that preceded the incident came in before 7 a.m. for a reported stabbing at a house in the 2600 block of E. Madison St. Officers said they found Jasmine Cofield, 24, in a back bedroom suffering from multiple stab wounds. The house belongs to a family friend.

A few minutes later, police said, an officer found a man matching the description of Cofield's assailant four blocks away at East Madison and Madeira streets.

Cook-Hayes said the officer confronted the man, who she said took off a blood-stained blue jacket and brandished a kitchen knife.

Two other officers quickly arrived. Cook-Hayes said one of them sprayed Cofield twice in the face with pepper spray, but he slowly walked up the street to the middle of the block. "The suspect kept making threatening motions, stabbing motions," the spokeswoman said.

Police said the officers formed a tight semi-circle around Cofield, who by this time was standing on a sidewalk between two marble steps. Investigators said Cofield repeatedly refused to drop the knife.

"The suspect had just stabbed someone, and he continued to make threatening gestures," Cook-Hayes said. "The officers felt the threat was immediate." The spokeswoman said several witnesses backed the officers' account.

Mrs. Cofield, who was released from Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday afternoon, could not be reached to comment. No one answered the door to her home in the 2800 block of E. Madison St. Residents at the house where the stabbing occurred declined to comment.

Cofield is the 13th person shot by Baltimore police this year, and the sixth one to die. Officers shot 15 people last year, four of them fatally; and 33 in 1996, with nine dead.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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