Baltimore school police officer indicted on murder charges

Teen-ager fatally shot during scuffle in April

October 18, 2002|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore school system police officer involved in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy outside a Northeast Baltimore elementary in April was indicted on murder charges yesterday by a city grand jury.

The second-degree murder charge against Marlon R. Lynch, 28, of the 3500 block of Woodring Ave. stems from the shooting death April 6 of Samuel Fitzgerald in the rear yard of Leith Walk Elementary School.

Samuel, a freshman at Northern High School, and an unidentified youth were standing behind the school smoking marijuana and drinking about 1 a.m., police said, when Lynch, in uniform, encountered them during his routine rounds of city schools.

Lynch was talking to the pair, police said, when a struggle broke out and his service handgun discharged as he tried to take it from his holster. The bullet struck Samuel in the back of the head and the other youth ran away, police said.

Samuel died 13 hours later at Sinai Hospital. Police were unable to identify Samuel because he did not have identification and had no criminal record, making a fingerprint match impossible.

Detectives learned his identity two days after the shooting after going through dozens of missing-person reports from the weekend and finding one filed by Samuel's father Saturday - the day of the shooting.

Samuel's family could not be reached for comment last night, but Lynch's attorney, Warren A. Brown, was incensed that Lynch was charged with murder and vowed to vindicate his client's name.

"I'm angry that they indicted him. That shooting occurred in the line of duty where there was a struggle between him and these guys. That's not murder," Brown said, terming the shooting self-defense.

Brown also complained that his client was placed on leave without pay, and the school system will not pay attorney fees in the criminal case.

In August of last year, Lynch was charged with second-degree assault in the beating of his girlfriend, Lisa Roberts, a city police officer, court records show.

The records also show that police responded to Lynch's house in Northeast Baltimore because of a 911 "hangup" call - one that was abruptly disconnected at the caller's end.

When police arrived, Roberts told the officers that Lynch had assaulted her, the records show.

The disagreement was about their daughter, records show. Lynch "became very upset and began to push Ms. Roberts with his hands, causing [her] to fall onto their outside porch steps," police said.

Roberts then ran inside to call police, but Lynch stopped her and pushed her against a washing machine, then shoved her again, and she fell over a weight-lifting bench and struck her head against a wall, the court records show.

Police said Roberts suffered bruises on her right shoulder and a bruise on her lower lip.

In October of last year, Lynch was given probation before judgment, including six months of unsupervised probation and 24 hours of community service in the case. Under terms of the probation, Lynch pleaded guilty, but the charges would be erased from his record if he stays out of trouble.

Lynch was a school police officer for two years.

Arrangements are being made for Lynch to surrender to police Monday.

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