Man shot by officer during altercation

He is accused of attack on police with sharp stick

April 17, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County police officer shot and seriously wounded a man who is accused of lunging at the officer with the pointed end of a broken broom handle yesterday morning.

The incident began just before 6 a.m. when police received several calls from the Kingsley Park Apartments in Middle River about a man possibly assaulting residents and breaking windows. One screaming woman said a man was trying to break into her apartment, police said.

Officers were sent to the 1600 block of Dartford Road, where they found Eugene William Rucker, 32, of no fixed address carrying two broom handles, one of which had been sharpened. Police said Rucker banged on one of the police cars, breaking a side-view mirror, and tried to run away when officers approached him.

When police confronted him a second time, he lunged at the officers, striking one in the chest with the sharpened stick, police said. The officer was wearing a protective vest and was not injured, police said.

As Rucker began to charge with the stick a second time, police said, the officer who had been struck fired two shots, one of which hit Rucker in the upper body.

Rucker was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was listed in serious but stable condition. No charges had been filed against Rucker, police said.

Rucker was shot by Officer James Price, who is in his second year with the department, police said. Price has been placed on routine administrative leave until the investigation into the shooting is completed.

The incident unfolded outside Vincent Sala's bedroom window in the 100 block of Kingsley Ave.

"I heard the policeman say, `Put your hands in the air' twice, and then I heard the gunshots," Sala said.

Neighbors described Rucker as a neighborhood character, nicknamed "Rock-a-fella" because he walked around shadow boxing.

"He knocked on my door in the middle of the night one time and just stood there looking at me," said Andy Blankenship of the 1600 block of Gail Road.

Several neighbors questioned the police response.

"He ain't a bad guy," said Edward Hayes, who heard the gunshots from the 1600 block of Dartford Road. "What can a person do with a stick?"

Like all shootings by county police, the matter will be reviewed by the homicide division, which will forward its findings to the state's attorney's office. The department's Shooting Review Team also will investigate.

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