Officer quizzed on statement in shooting

Testimony in trial differs from account to police

January 31, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A statement by a former Baltimore police officer, made a month after he fatally shot a Pikesville man, differs from his testimony this week on the incident.

Asked yesterday by attorney A. Dwight Pettit to read aloud a Feb. 26, 1998, account he gave police, Shane C. Stufft, 29, said nothing about Derek Robert McIntosh's having been on his back.

Stufft testified Tuesday that McIntosh, whom Stufft shot once in the chest and once in the neck Jan. 13, 1998, had jumped on his back during a struggle and was trying to grab his gun from its holster.

"On this statement, there's no indication that he's on top of you?" Pettit asked yesterday. "Yes," Stufft answered. "That he's on your back?" Pettit continued. "Yes," Stufft replied.

Pettit also pointed out that the statement said nothing about Stufft's shooting McIntosh from under his arm, which he also testified to Tuesday.

At issue in the wrongful-death suit brought by McIntosh's family, which seeks more than $30 million, is whether Stufft used excessive force against McIntosh, whom he was trying to arrest when the shooting occurred.

McIntosh's mother, Sheila Gray of Pikesville, also charges in the lawsuit that Stufft, now a uniformed patrol officer for the Baltimore County Police Department, violated her son's rights under the state constitution.

Stufft's lawyers, Eileen A. Carpenter and Myron T. Brown, say their client did not use excessive force and was trying to save his life. Stufft has testified that he feared McIntosh was going to get his gun and shoot him.

Shortly after the incident, a police commander at the scene said the evidence recovered appeared consistent with what Stufft told investigators.

Charles J. Key, who retired in 1996 after nearly 26 years as a Baltimore police officer, was called yesterday by the defense as an expert witness. Key testified that based on the autopsy and other facts, he believes Stufft has told the truth about what happened.

Under cross-examination by Pettit, Key said it is "plausible" that McIntosh might have had gun residue on his fingers because he was trying to ward off a second shot by Stufft and not because he was reaching for Stufft's gun.

The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

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