Liquor board member arrested

Welch charged in shooting incident at his mother's office

September 21, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A member of the Baltimore liquor board who also is the son of a city councilwoman has been charged with attempted murder after one of his mother's campaign workers was shot at in a dispute over $40.

William A. Welch, 46, is free on $25,000 bail pending his next scheduled court appearance next month. He is one of three liquor commissioners who can levy fines or close bars for violating laws governing the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Police arrested Welch, the son of Councilwoman Agnes B. Welch, on Wednesday, the day after the primary election, at her campaign office on Edmondson Avenue. He is charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault, discharging a firearm and handgun possession.

Welch, reached last night at his home in the 2900 block of Mosher St., declined to comment. "I don't have anything to say because there is no story," he said.

He told police he shot at the ground "to restore order," according to charging documents.

Agnes Welch, a Democrat who represents West Baltimore, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Messages left at her home and City Hall office were not returned. Campaign workers said she was not at her office at Edmondson Avenue and Poplar Grove Street, where the alleged shooting incident occurred.

Jane M. Schroeder, deputy executive secretary of the Baltimore Board of Liquor License Commissioners, said she was unaware that Welch, one of the commissioners appointed by the governor, had been arrested.

"He is still certainly considered an active commissioner," she said.

The incident stemmed from an early afternoon dispute at Welch's campaign headquarters in the 2900 block of Edmondson Ave. Police said William Welch and Teresa Hamer, 32, were arguing about how much she had worked the day of the primary election.

Hamer told police that she had gone to him "to get paid for working as a campaign person," according to court documents filed by housing authority police. "He told me he didn't see me working."

The documents show that Hamer told housing Officer Kenneth Dean that Welch drew a handgun from his side and fired one shot. She ran from the building and called police.

Court documents say Welch told the responding officer: "I shot at the ground to restore order. That woman did not work yesterday."

In an interview last night, Hamer said she joined a friend to work on Agnes Welch's campaign and was among a large group of west-side residents who were to be paid $40 to hand out campaign literature for 13 hours the day of the primary.

Hamer said she hired a baby sitter for her four children and couldn't pay her because she didn't get money from the Welch campaign. "I want my money," she said. "My kids need shoes."

Housing authority police investigated because Dean was nearby when the 911 call was received. He wrote in his report that he smelled gunpowder when he ran into the campaign office about 1: 30 p.m. and saw William Welch sitting behind a table. He said he asked Welch if he had a weapon.

"The defendant stated yes and produced a .38 caliber silver handgun from his right side and placed it in front of him, on the table," the court document says. Dean wrote that the gun contained five bullets and one spent casing.

Police said yesterday that they were trying to determine ownership of the weapon. They said William Welch was not registered to possess a gun.

Welch told Dean that he did not know who the gun belonged to, nor did he have a permit.

Pub Date: 9/21/99

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