Workers shot in Overlea

Caterer's ex-employee is suspect, police say

May 16, 1999|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Two workers at an Overlea catering hall were shot and critically wounded yesterday by a former employee, who was later wounded in the leg during a shootout with city police outside his Northeast Baltimore apartment, police said.

The two employees, Dennis Rembert Jr., 38, of the 300 block of Wellingborough Way, Cockeysville, and Duane Thomas, 27, of the 4200 block of Stanwood Ave., Baltimore, were taken by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Rembert was in critical condition and Thomas was in critical but stable condition last night, police said.

The suspect, whom police would not identify, was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was in fair condition last night. The man was placed under police guard at Hopkins but had not been charged, said Sgt. Scott Rowe, a Baltimore police spokesman.

The suspect will not be charged until he is well enough to appear before a District Court commissioner, said Baltimore County Police

Cpl. John Matthews.

According to police, the suspect approached two employees who were loading a truck outside Overlea Catering at 6809 Belair Road in Baltimore County and shot them just after 10 a.m.

Baltimore County police who responded to the shooting broadcast a description and license number of the car driven by the suspect, based on witnesses' accounts.

The vehicle, a 1991 black Cadillac, was registered to a 58-year-old man who lived in an apartment in the 2200 block of Pinewood Ave. near Northern High School in Baltimore City.

When officers from Baltimore City's Northeastern District went to the address and approached the apartment building, a man opened the door of a basement apartment, holding a handgun at his side, Rowe said.

"He then came up in a combat position with the weapon in front of him," Rowe said. "During that time, the officers were retreating for their safety and told him to drop his weapon."

Instead, the suspect fired at the police officers, and Officer Stacy Quinter, a 13-year veteran of the force, returned fire, Rowe said. The suspect was shot in the leg, but Rowe said it was not clear yesterday whether the man was shot by the officer or his own gun.

Rowe declined to release details of the suspect's handgun, except that it was a semi-automatic.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. It's a horrible situation," said Michael Stappler, president of the catering service, which has been in business since 1958. Stappler said police asked him not to comment further.

Acquaintances of the suspect and former co-workers said the man was upset over the circumstances of his departure from the catering company, which police said was about a year ago.

"He would come in here and get his [lottery] numbers and we'd joke around -- he was the nicest guy you'd want to meet," Dennis Rosier Jr., a cashier at Overlea Liquors across the street from the caterers, said of the suspect. "It would take a lot to make this guy go and do that."

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