Teen claims self-defense in shooting

16-year-old surrenders in death of boy, 15

September 11, 2001|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A 16-year-old suspect in Sunday's fatal shooting of another youth in an Annapolis public housing project surrendered yesterday to city police and claimed it was self-defense, authorities said.

The suspect, Dermot Chase, was charged as an adult with three counts of first- and second-degree assault. He is accused of firing at three female teen-agers riding in a car with the victim, 15-year-old Timothy Lee Sembley Jr., before he was killed, police said.

No charges had been filed against Chase in the fatal shooting, said Officer Eric Crane, a police spokesman.

According to police, young Sembley was carrying a .357-caliber handgun and was shot in the back about 3 a.m. as he stood on a sidewalk in the College Creek Terrace project. He had been arguing with his assailant, police said.

Detectives consulted with county prosecutors for several hours yesterday before agreeing to hold off on charges in the shooting.

"We want to have all the facts," Crane said. "We know for a fact, through his own admission, that the suspect shot [Sembley]. But he's claiming it's self-defense. Now, we have [to] investigate that claim and re-interview the witnesses."

Chase was held on the assault counts. Police said no one was hit by the shots fired at the green Mitsubishi in which the teen-agers had been riding.

After Sembley was shot on the street, the female companions drove him to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 3:15 a.m.

Chase has also been charged with a firearms offense and reckless endangerment, police said.

In June - the last time a murder suspect surrendered to Annapolis police - prosecutors dropped charges against the Glen Burnie man accused of fatally shooting a 40-year-old Eastport man, citing problems with the evidence.

In this week's case, prosecutors opted to wait rather than prematurely charge a suspect with murder in Sembley's death, Crane said.

"There's a difference between murder and manslaughter," he said.

Sembley lived in the 400 block of Captains Circle, in the Admiral Oaks Apartments in the Bestgate Terrace community.

Last night, a District Court commissioner ordered Chase to be held without bail at the County Detention Center on Jennifer Road.

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