Police officer, unknown man shot

Heroin trafficking surveillance leads to East Baltimore gunfight

February 05, 2000|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

A plainclothes city police officer and an unidentified suspect were wounded in an East Baltimore gunfight last night following surveillance of heroin trafficking in the 1700 block of N. Chapel St.

Eastern District Officer Jerry Weaver, 42, was being treated last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for a nonlife-threatening bullet wound to his right arm and rib cage. The slug traveled near Weaver's stomach.

Police Commissioner Ronald L. Daniel said last night that Weaver, an 18-year veteran and father of three, was conscious and talking to colleagues and family. Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley joined Weaver's relatives and some two dozen police officers at Shock Trauma while the wounded officer was being treated.

Weaver was on duty about 8 p.m. last night with his partner, Officer Louis Holley, when the pair saw an unidentified man with a gun, according to city police spokeswoman Ragina Cooper.

Both officers and the suspect -- wounded in the foot and thigh -- exchanged multiple shots. Police said they were still determining who fired first. Neighbors reported hearing about 10 gunshots.

"Everyone just heard `pop, pop, pop,' " said Eric Taylor, of the 1800 block of W. Lafeyette Ave. "Then a pause and then another round of shots."

The suspect, believed to be about 30 years old, was treated last night at Johns Hopkins Hospital and will be transferred to a local lock-up after his release, police said. Holley was not injured.

After being shot, the suspect ran into a nearby rowhouse. He surrendered to police minutes later, said Cooper, who did not know if the house was occupied.

Cooper said the officers were working undercover drug surveillance when they observed an alleged drug deal and noticed a man waving a .357-caliber handgun. Police and residents said the neighborhood has several drug corners where heroin is sold openly, and gunfire is frequent.

Taylor, who lives less than a block from last night's incident, said he heard gunfire several times yesterday. He said: "These guys just shoot but don't have no target practice."

Daniel said Weaver and Holley were in the area looking for drug activity after a resident of the neighborhood called the commissioner's office about 5 p.m. yesterday to report blatant dealing.

"We have plans to clean up the whole city," Daniel said. "But this area is pretty intense with historical drug problems."

Sun staff writer Alice Lukens contributed to this article.

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