Man who shot at 4 officers gets 50 years

Gunbattle erupted while he was sought on warrant

April 24, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Edward P. Bland, who shot at four police officers in a West Baltimore gunbattle in 2001, was sentenced yesterday in city Circuit Court to 50 years in prison.

"You might as well give me the death penalty," an agitated Bland told Judge John M. Glynn. "I never tried to kill anyone."

Glynn calmly responded: "A man makes decisions in life and must deal with the consequences."

Bland, 33, of the 3400 block of Springdale Ave. was convicted in February of four counts of first-degree assault, as well as various handgun crimes.

When he was arrested, then-Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris said the department "really wanted this guy" for alleged connections to a spate of violence. He had been wanted on two outstanding attempted-murder warrants.

Assistant State's Attorney Twila C. Driggins, who prosecuted the case, asked the judge "not to accept" Bland's lawlessness. "An individual who will shoot at a Baltimore City police officer will shoot at anyone," Driggins said. "It is time for us to shut down this culture of lawlessness."

Bland's lawyer, A. Dwight Pettit, told the judge he should sentence Bland for his crime, not for all the crimes in the city. Pettit called witnesses who said they had never seen a violent side of Bland.

During the trial, Bland testified that he had the guns to protect himself because he was caught in a dangerous "love triangle."

The incident happened Oct. 15, 2001, when four officers tried to arrest Bland on a warrant. Detectives Earl T. Williams, Michael Coleman, Sean Ruane and Steven Staab were not hurt, but Bland was shot several times.

Of the two attempted-murder charges on which Bland was wanted, one resulted in an acquittal in Baltimore County and the other is pending in the city.

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