Baltimore officers cleared in death of Canton woman

Prosecutor's office rules shooting was justifiable

April 03, 2004|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

Nearly seven months after three police officers fatally shot a 48-year-old knife-wielding Canton woman inside her home, the city state's attorney's office has ruled her death a justifiable homicide.

A spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office said yesterday that the Police Department was notified Tuesday of the decision by the prosecutor's office that police acted in self-defense when they shot Gloria Hopkins.

"The investigation included a review of witness statements, offense reports, crime scene reports, the autopsy and statements from the officers. There will be no criminal charges," said the spokeswoman, Margaret T. Burns.

After the shooting Sept. 19, Hopkins' former boyfriend, John Dickson, and several of her relatives and friends questioned whether officers had used excessive force.

Dickson declined to comment yesterday. Hopkins' relatives could not be reached for comment.

Police said that on the day Hopkins was shot, she had called 911 saying that she needed help and hung up. Later, she placed a second call to 911, saying, "I think I'm going to hurt someone," and hung up again.

Sent to Hopkins' home in the 600 block of S. Streeper St. were Sgt. Duane A. Henry, 41; Officer Julio Jaramillo, 35; and Officer Scott Swenson, 25.

When the officers arrived, Hopkins was standing at the living room window and motioned for them to go in, police said. Once inside, the officers found Hopkins holding kitchen knives with 7-inch blades in each hand in a threatening manner, according to police reports.

The officers said they yelled at Hopkins several times to put down the knives.

She was shot several times after she lunged at them, police said.

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