Police officer is cleared of wrongdoing in shooting

Authorities say man had refused to drop screwdriver

March 22, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A Crofton police officer who shot a man allegedly armed with a screwdriver will not face criminal charges, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office said yesterday.

Officer John Woodall, a six-year veteran of the Crofton force, received a letter from the state's attorney's office this week saying he had been cleared of any potential charges, said the spokeswoman, Kristin Riggin.

Riggin refused to discuss details of the county's investigation into the shooting Jan. 26.

The man who was shot, James M. Timmons, 35, of Annapolis, is awaiting trial on charges that include assault.

The events leading to the shooting began when Crofton police responded to a call of a man with a knife in the Keswick Park Apartments, less than a half-mile from Crofton police headquarters.

When officers arrived, Timmons ran from a friend's apartment on the fourth floor of 2915 Greenwich Court and toward Woodall with a metal object in his hand, county police said. Woodall told Timmons to drop the object -- which turned out to be a screwdriver -- but Timmons instead kept heading for him, county police said.

Woodall then shot Timmons once in the abdomen, police said. Timmons was treated for his injuries at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said. Woodall was placed on administrative leave while county police investigated the shooting.

County police handle all specialized investigations in Crofton as part of a formal agreement between the town and county, according to authorities. Because of its size, the Crofton police department does not have specialized units such as a homicide unit or an internal affairs division. The Crofton force has six sworn officers.

After the police investigation, the county state's attorney's office was to have reviewed the shooting to determine whether deadly force was warranted, Riggin said at the time.

Timmons is charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and use of a deadly weapon. He was being held in lieu of $300,000 in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center.

His trial is scheduled for May 3.

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