Man arrested in violent traffic incident

Baltimore County officer recounts being fired on after seeing woman shot

May 08, 1999|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County police officer attempting a traffic stop yesterday instead became a witness to a shooting.

As Officer Brian K. Brennan started to pull over a white Nissan weaving on North Rolling Road, the driver pulled out a silver-colored handgun and shot a woman in the front seat four times.

"I could see the gun, I could see the flashes from the muzzle, I could hear the bangs," the 28-year-old patrolman said yesterday about the shooting Thursday night.

But there was more.

"He pointed his gun at me -- I thought it was going to be a gunbattle," Brennan recalled.

Brennan ducked, the man fired at him, and Brennan drew his gun but didn't shoot. Instead, he ordered the man to drop his gun and get down on the ground. He did.

"It was an event," the patrolman said, recalling the traffic stop that turned violent.

Illinois Smith, 26, of the 7000 block of McClean Blvd. was charged with two counts of attempted murder, police said. He was also charged with kidnapping Leah G. Littlefield, police said.

Littlefield, who was shot in the upper torso, left hand and face, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was listed in critical condition last night, hospital officials said.

The incident began about 7: 30 Thursday evening as Brennan was driving north on Rolling Road. The Nissan coming toward him veered over the center line, and Brennan could see the man and woman inside arguing and hitting each other. He made a U-turn to pursue the car.

Brennan said that after the shooting ended and Smith was handcuffed, he gave medical assistance to Littlefield, who had opened the passenger door and fallen out of the car.

Littlefield told officers at the hospital that Smith had kidnapped her at gunpoint shortly before the shooting and threatened to kill her, according to court documents. When she saw Brennan's marked police car approaching them on Rolling Road, Littlefield told police, she grabbed the steering wheel and swerved the car to attract the officer's attention.

It was the first time in more than two years on the job that someone had shot at Brennan.

"I'll never forget it," he said yesterday. "It just makes you think anything is possible out there."

Pub Date: 5/08/99

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