Fatal shooting of suspect by officer under review

Man was swinging board at city police sergeant

March 19, 2004|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A veteran city police sergeant has been placed on routine administrative duties pending an investigation into the fatal shooting of a drug suspect late Wednesday in East Baltimore, officials said yesterday.

The sergeant, Mark Walrath, 34, who joined the force in 1992 and is a member of the department's Organized Crime Division, shot and killed a man who was swinging a wooden board at him, police said.

Dexter Hill, 37, of the 2800 block of Spelman Road was shot once and died at the scene, police said.

The incident began about 11:30 p.m. when city detectives noticed what appeared to be a drug deal in the 1600 block of N. Bethel St., said police spokesman Matt Jablow.

The detectives approached the men, and two of them fled, Jablow said.

The detectives stopped Hill and began to frisk the suspect, who pushed two detectives away and began to run, Jablow said.

He said Walrath chased Hill for several minutes and found him in the back yard of a vacant house in the 1500 block of N. Bethel St.

As Walrath approached Hill, the man picked up a large wooden board and refused to drop it, Jablow said.

He said Hill then began to swing the board at Walrath, who fired one shot with his 40-caliber handgun.

Jablow said police recovered a knife from Hill and found two vials of crack cocaine that the suspect tossed during the chase.

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