A golf pro at a public course in Essex thwarted an early-morning robbery attempt yesterday by whacking an intruder with a golf club and shooting him in the leg with the man's gun.
Daniel Clifford Stevens, 42, of Baltimore was charged with attempted armed robbery, assault and handgun possession. He was being held last night at the Baltimore County Detention Center.
The incident began shortly after 5 a.m. at Rocky Point Golf Course in the 1900 block of Back River Neck Road, police said. John Lazzell, the golf pro, said he was opening the shop to get ready for a tournament when an intruder put a gun to his head and demanded that he open the store's safe.
Lazzell, 60, said he opened the safe, which contained only petty cash because it was the start of the day.
He said he told the intruder that he wasn't feeling well and needed to sit down, then grabbed a golf club and hit the intruder on the back of the head. Lazzell used a 9-iron, police said.
"I didn't think real clearly," Lazzell said. "All I know is, I had to hit him."
After he hit the man with the club, Lazzell said, the two tussled and he was able to wrest away the .22-caliber revolver the man was carrying. He then shot the intruder in the leg, he said.
"I was kind of in a daze," said Lazzell, who has worked at the golf course for 30 years. "I couldn't believe what was happening."
Lazzell called 911, and the intruder ran off. Baltimore County police said they found the suspect hiding nearby. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg.
The shooting yesterday occurred two months after a Baltimore County grand jury declined to indict two brothers involved in the March shooting of three unarmed intruders.
The jury deliberated for less than a half-hour before deciding that Dominic "Tony" Geckle and Matthew Geckle had acted in self-defense during the March 19 incident at Back River Supply Inc. on Owings Mills Boulevard.
The brothers, both armed with shotguns, were sleeping in a warehouse that had been burglarized twice earlier in the weekend.
One suspected intruder, 24-year-old Jonathan Steinbach of Baltimore, was killed. Two other men, Justin Storto, 21, of Randallstown and Enrico L. Magliarella, 24, of Reisterstown, were wounded.