City officer in shooting suspended

Man who shot teen was legally drunk, police sources say

Hearing set for Monday

Thursday night fight was 3rd time veteran fired service weapon

November 17, 2001|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

An off-duty Baltimore police officer who shot and wounded a 17-year-old boy Thursday night was legally drunk at the time and has been suspended with pay pending a hearing on Monday, police sources said yesterday.

The officer, Charles H. Carter, has fired his service weapon at least two other times and twice has been charged with crimes. He was fired from the department in 1989 after being convicted of harassment, but he was later reinstated, apparently after the case was overturned on appeal.

Carter also has faced departmental misconduct charges, including one of using excessive force, police sources said. It is unclear how those cases were resolved.

Carter, 45, a 19-year veteran who works in the department's 311 center, was suspended after being accused of having alcohol in his system at the time of the shooting, police sources said. Officers are not allowed to consume alcohol while in possession of their guns, police said.

A breath test after the shooting showed that Carter's blood-alcohol level was 0.214 percent, sources said. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.

Police spokeswoman Ragina C. Averella declined to discuss the case but said a hearing has been scheduled. Carter declined to comment.

The shooting sprang from a fight about 9:30 p.m. Thursday in the 1900 block of Ridgehill Ave. in West Baltimore, police said. A 17-year-old began attacking the officer's brother and struck his head with a hatchet, police said.

Carter then fired his service weapon and hit the youth in the left hip, police said.

The teen-ager, whom police would not identify, and the officer's brother, David Carter, 48, were taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with nonlife-threatening injuries, police said.

Carter joined the department in 1981. Four years later, while off duty in West Baltimore, he shot a bar owner after an argument, police said at the time.

Carter was in plainclothes when he walked into Jerry's Bar in the 600 block of Poplar Grove Street. The owner refused to serve him, and he left.

Then, on the street, the owner and two other people approached Carter, who lifted up his jacket to reveal his handgun, police said.

The men left, but the owner returned with his gun and raised it toward Carter, police said. Carter fired three shots, hitting the owner in the left arm and left leg, police said. It was unclear how that case was resolved.

In 1987, Carter and another officer were walking down Broadway when a 20-year-old made eye contact with them and ran down an alley. Carter chased the man, who fired several shots at the officer. Carter returned fire, police said.

The 20-year-old escaped, held several people hostage in a rowhouse and was shot and killed by tactical officers.

Later, police acknowledged that Carter had been unhappy with work on his car's catalytic converter that had been done by the 20-year-old's stepfather.

In an unrelated case two years later, Carter was charged with criminal harassment and convicted, computerized court records show. He was fired. Carter apparently won on appeal, and then-police Commissioner Edward V. Woods reinstated him.

In 1996, Carter was charged with raping his 28-year-old cousin and was held in jail for five months before prosecutors dropped the case, citing the "credibility of the victim."

Carter returned to duty and had been assigned to the Northwest District until recently.

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