FBI agent stops wrong car, shoots driver in face

Bureau, Anne Arundel police were seeking bank robbery suspect

March 02, 2002|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

FBI agents searching for an armed bank robber pulled over the wrong car last night on Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena and shot a man in the face who had no connection to the crime, authorities said.

The 27-year-old victim, whose name was not released, was flown by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center and is expected to live.

"Anytime anyone gets shot, whether it's the right or wrong person -- we are traumatized by it as well," said FBI spokesman Peter Gulotta. "This is not something that we like to see happen. The circumstances will be thoroughly investigated."

The Anne Arundel County Police Department is investigating the shooting, and will present its findings to a grand jury to determine if the agent should be charged with a crime, Gulotta said. The FBI is also investigating, and will turn over its information to the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Several FBI agents were working with Anne Arundel police Friday to serve an arrest warrant on a man suspected robbing a bank. He is believed to be armed and dangerous, Gulotta said.

Working with a description of the suspect, several FBI agents pulled over a Pontiac Grand Am in front of Key Bridge Discount Liquors at 7212 Fort Smallwood Road about 6 p.m. An FBI agent walked up to the car and fired a single bullet from an M-4 assault rifle, hitting the male passenger in the face, authorities said.

The FBI would not comment last night on why the agent fired the weapon, whether it was a mistake or an attempt at self-defense, Gulotta said.

Police were still searching for the bank robbery suspect last night.

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