A street dedicated to slain officer

September 20, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Queenatrice Wooden vividly recalls the morning 10 years ago when she called police for help to control her drug-crazed nephew and Officer Ira Weiner rushed into her West Baltimore rowhouse to help.

Her nephew quickly overwhelmed Weiner, stabbed him 36 times with an ice pick and fatally shot the officer with his own gun.

Yesterday, a decade to the day of the deadly attack, Wooden sat quietly on her stoop as city officials dedicated her street to Weiner - renaming the 1900 block of W. Mulberry St. as "Ira Weiner Way" with a commemorative sign.

"He deserved it," said Wooden, 55. "He was coming here to help me."

City officials echoed Wooden's comments, saying Weiner, a 28-year-old Western District officer, was a hero who should not be forgotten.

Mayor Martin O'Malley, who proclaimed yesterday Ira Weiner Day, said the officer had a "golden heart" and "cared enough about the city to join the Police Department."

Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris compared Weiner to other, more famous, men and women whose names are emblazoned on street signs.

And Lt. Col. Odis L. Sistrunk, Weiner's supervisor at the time, said Weiner was a brave officer "who wanted to make a difference."

Officers Paul McManus and Chuck Connolly, who served with Weiner, came up with the idea for the sign, which will grace the street post for another week or two before being taken down and given to Weiner's relatives.

"If Cal Ripken can get a sign, [Weiner] deserves one," McManus said. "He was as much a hero as Cal Ripken. This is how we respect our friends."

Weiner's mother, Arlene Weiner, attended the ceremony, which officers and officials sprang on her as a surprise.

"It's wonderful," she said. "It means that people still remember."

Weiner graduated from Northwestern High School in 1982 and joined the Police Department six years later.

He was on routine patrol when he raced to Wooden's home in response to the call and was shot by her nephew, Lewis Thomas, 29.

Officers rushing to back up Weiner shot and killed Thomas. Weiner died two days later.

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