Officer severely injured in crash

Man fleeing shooting rams into cruiser

April 21, 2000|By Richard Irwin and Rafael Alvarez | Richard Irwin and Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

A 27-year-old Baltimore police officer was nearly crushed to death last night when a Ford Bronco racing away from a shooting landed on top of his cruiser in West Baltimore.

Officer Kevon Gavin, a six-year veteran of the city force assigned to the Southwestern District, was trapped in his cruiser for about 40 minutes, police said.

At 1 a.m. today, Gavin was on full life support after surgery at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, said Dr. Thomas Scalea, chief surgeon. He said Gavin suffered severe injuries to his head, brain, the lower part of his body and to his upper torso.

"He's a very, very sick young man," Scalea said.

Gavin's wife, Lisa, and 1-year-old son, Kevon Jr., were at his side, the surgeon said.

Police said the chain of events began shortly after 8 p.m. with a shooting near South Pulaski Street and Wilkens Avenue.

Police said an 18-year-old man was shot in the leg and that the gunman, a teen-ager, jumped into the Bronco and sped away. Police pursued the Bronco while Officer Gavin attempted to set up a roadblock at South Gilmor and West Lombard streets.

Police said the Bronco was speeding west on Lombard Street at 8: 09 p.m. when it hit Gavin's marked police car near Gilmor Street, landing on the cruiser's roof and crushing the vehicle.

Large pieces of each vehicle were found several yards from the point of impact.

About a dozen officers who arrived immediately after the crash tried in vain to lift the Bronco off of their colleague's car, said Henry Hoffman, 58, a resident of the 1500 block of W. Lombard St.

One of the vehicles caught fire, which was quickly extinguished.

The driver of the Bronco, a 17-year-old boy, was pulled from the vehicle by police and immediately arrested. Police said the youth was wearing body armor and had a 10 mm semiautomatic handgun in the car. He had not been charged last night.

He suffered cuts and bruises to his face and was also taken to Shock Trauma. His condition was not known last night. The man who was shot in the leg sustained a graze wound and refused medical treatment, police said.

The injured officer was cut free by firefighters, who removed the roof of the cruiser while other officers blocked off intersections in the area to give an ambulance a clear route to Shock Trauma.

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