Woman shot by county police serving warrant

3 officers fired after gun aimed at them, official says

May 07, 2004|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police serving a search warrant yesterday morning at a rowhouse in Essex shot a 41-year-old woman after she aimed a handgun - and perhaps fired - at them, authorities said.

The three officers who fired their 40 mm handguns at the woman have been placed on routine administrative leave pending completion of an internal investigation, said police spokesman Bill Toohey, who would not identify the officers.

The woman, who was hit once in the neck, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with injuries that were not life-threatening, Toohey said. Police declined to identify her or a 49-year-old woman arrested at the duplex until charges against the women have been filed.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions of The Sun about a shooting in Essex incorrectly identified the type of handguns used by the Baltimore County police. They were .40 caliber handguns.
The Sun regrets the error.

Detectives in the Essex precinct have been working with neighbors in recent months to identify and arrest people involved in suspected drug activity. Fifteen people were arrested last month in raids at two addresses nearby, and yesterday's search was a continuation of that effort, Toohey said.

Just before 8 a.m. yesterday, neighbors said, several plainclothes officers with guns drawn crept down Magnolia Terrace toward a two-story, brick duplex in the 300 block.

"They were all crouched down and they ran along the sidewalks and up on the lawns," said longtime resident Esther Beers, 77, who was sitting with her sister on their screened-in porch when police quietly arrived. "I thought it was a drug bust."

At the duplex, the detectives identified themselves as police officers, Toohey said, and getting no response, broke down the front door with a battering ram. It was unclear how the officers gained access to the apartment inside the rowhouse, which is divided into two units.

When officers opened the door to an unlocked bedroom, they found a woman aiming the handgun at them, Toohey said.

"They believe she fired a shot, and they fired back," he said. "We're continuing to look for various bullets and shell casings."

Police are trying to determine whether the women are related and where they live. Neither said she lived in the duplex where the shooting occurred, and one told police she lived at an address that no longer exists, Toohey said.

Police have been called before to the Magnolia Terrace duplex, responding to neighbors' complaints about noise and people coming and going at strange hours, he said.

Neighbors said the recent wave of drug activity has transformed what is otherwise a quiet, safe area.

"I would hate to see one of those kids get hit with a stray bullet," Joseph Herget, 57, said. "You hear about this happening up in town and you move to the county. But guess what? The county's got it, too."

"I guess it's all around now," he said of drug activity.

Earlier this year, Baltimore County police shot two people - a 46-year-old Timonium man accused of threatening officers with a board during a confrontation in an abandoned barn and a 51-year-old Arbutus man who was fatally wounded after allegedly pointing a shotgun at officers responding to a domestic dispute.

Last year, there were four officer-involved shootings in Baltimore County, including two fatalities.

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