Welch's son pleads guilty in gun incident

Deal with prosecutors nets liquor panel member suspended sentence

February 12, 2000|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

A member of the Baltimore liquor board who also is the son of a city councilwoman avoided going to jail yesterday by admitting he fired a .38-caliber gun in his mother's campaign offices after a dispute with one of the workers.

William A. Welch, 46, pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court to second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm.

In an agreement with prosecutors, Welch was given a three-year suspended sentence and three years' probation by Judge William D. Quarles. Welch, the son of City Councilwoman Agnes B. Welch, was also ordered to forfeit the gun.

In return, prosecutors dropped charges of attempted murder and illegal possession of a handgun, according to Welch's lawyer, David B. Irwin.

"Our position was it was accidental," Irwin said. "He decided he wanted to plead guilty so he could get on with his life and put this all behind him."

The incident stemmed from a dispute at his mother's campaign headquarters in the 2900 block of Edmondson Ave. the day after last September's primary election.

Police said Welch and employee Teresa Hamer were arguing about how much she had worked on election day.

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, of the 2900 block of Mosher St., told the responding officer: "I shot at the ground to restore order. That woman did not work yesterday."

Welch is one of three liquor board commissioners appointed by the governor.

Pub Date: 2/12/00

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