Officer is put on desk duty during probe of fatal shooting

He killed man who shot manager of apartments

December 10, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A veteran Baltimore police officer has been put on administrative duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation into his shooting of a gun-wielding 78-year-old tenant of a senior apartment complex Monday afternoon, police said.

Officer Aaron Owens, 37, an 18-year veteran, fatally shot Cephus Smith after police failed to subdue the man with two shocks from a 50,000-volt stun gun and he began shooting at officers storming into his apartment, police said.

Smith was hit three times and died in his apartment in the Oliver Plaza complex at 1401 E. Oliver St. The incident developed after Smith became angry Monday morning about a $10 rent increase and shot his building's manager, Stephanie Gilliam, 50.

Gilliam was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital and was listed yesterday in good condition.

After shooting Gilliam, Smith barricaded himself in his second-floor apartment and refused to surrender or leave as police spoke to him through his door, officials said. Smith threatened to kill himself and said he did not want to go to jail, according to police.

Using a shield, officers swarmed the apartment about 12:10 p.m. and confronted Smith, who was holding a handgun, police said. The officers hit Smith twice with shocks from a Taser device but failed to subdue him. Smith then began firing in the apartment, forcing Owens to open fire, police said.

Smith died at the scene.

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