Ex-city officer pleads guilty in killing of man in 1988

May 26, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Baltimore homicide detectives had few leads on an early Sunday morning 11 years ago when they pulled into the parking lot of a public housing high-rise and found Anthony Townes lying face down with a fatal bullet wound to the back.

Witnesses told police they had seen the 41-year-old man yanked from a red Ford Bronco and shot as he ran east on Pratt Street. Police didn't know at the time that the bullet came from a fellow officer.

On Monday, Robert W. Carre Jr., a former decorated veteran with 23 years police experience, broke his decade-old silence and admitted to the killing. The 48-year-old former officer, who quit after his arrest two years ago, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was given an eight-year suspended prison sentence, one year of home confinement and three years probation.

Carre's lawyer, Richard M. Karceski, said his client was off-duty when he shot at Townes, who was running away after scuffling with the officer's friend in the 100 block of S. Exeter St., near Little Italy. Karceski said Carre did not report firing his .38-caliber revolver and did not know he had hit anyone until the next day.

Concerned that the reporting delay would make his story unbelievable -- that he fired his weapon because he was trying to arrest a fleeing suspect -- "I guess the easier course was just to say nothing about it," Karceski said.

The investigation into the Nov. 20, 1988, shooting broke in 1995 when Carre's former wife, a city police dispatcher, came forward after an acrimonious divorce.

Carre became the police department's prime suspect in the death. Nevertheless, the department allowed him to patrol city streets for more than a year to avoid tipping him off about its investigation.

Based on the former wife's tip, detectives went to Bradenton, Fla., south of St. Petersburg, and found the man Carre was with the night of the shooting: David DeLarosa, a friend who moonlighted with Carre providing security to Baltimore-area hotels.

Detectives Vernon Holly and John T. Brown obtained arrest warrants charging DeLarosa, a former civilian employee with the Maryland State Police, with first-degree murder in Townes' death.

Court records show that DeLarosa, 42, agreed to testify against Carre in exchange for immunity from prosecution. He could not be reached to comment yesterday.

The court records show that Carre and DeLarosa left a Block bar about 2: 40 a.m. Nov. 20, 1988. DeLarosa coaxed Townes, who was standing on East Baltimore Street, into Carre's truck.

Townes, who didn't know either man, was chosen at random for the prank that followed.

A few blocks away on East Pratt Street, DeLarosa, apparently joking, told Townes he was under arrest, pulled him from the car and they began to fight. Carre jumped out of the vehicle to find his friend lying on the ground motionless. As Townes ran, Carre fired two shots at him.

Pub Date: 5/26/99

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