Officer shoots woman after he is stabbed

Dozens witness attack in W. Baltimore store

May 08, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A city police officer shot a woman yesterday after she allegedly stabbed him in the back in what investigators called an unprovoked attack witnessed by a dozen people at a West Baltimore grocery store.

The wounded officer, 28-year-old Jay Harris, tended to his attacker's injuries until an ambulance arrived, police spokesman Robert W. Weinhold Jr. said. He was expected to be released last night from Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police closed the Stop, Shop & Save Food Market in the 1100 block of Pennsylvania Ave. for about three hours as they investigated. They could offer no motive and said Harris, who was in uniform, and the woman had not crossed paths before.

The unidentified woman, who was wounded in the leg and abdomen, was in serious condition yesterday at Shock Trauma. Police said no charges had been filed against her.

"This type of incident certainly highlights the dangers officers face each and every day in Baltimore City," Weinhold said.

Homicide detectives, who investigate police-involved shootings, were reviewing surveillance tapes that captured part of the incident. The store's regional manager, Anthony Baines, said there are 16 cameras inside the store.

Police said the tapes show a woman carrying a small bag walk into the store about 10: 15 a.m. and head directly toward Harris, who was moonlighting for the store as a security guard.

He was hunched over at a closed checkout terminal doing routine paperwork. Police said the woman walked up to him with a 10-inch knife and stabbed him three times in the upper back, just above his protective vest.

Police said Harris turned around and managed to get a few feet from the woman before firing his 9 mm Glock semiautomatic handgun twice. Detectives who reviewed the tape said it does not capture the assault or the shooting but that they could hear Harris twice shout "Stop!" followed by two gunshots.

"It's been safe in there, as far as I know," said customer Ethel Countis, 77, who added that she has seen Harris from time to time but does not know him.

Baines said he hires private security guards and off-duty city police officers to protect the store. He said there has never been an armed robbery at the store and that his biggest problem is shoplifters.

Pub Date: 5/08/99

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