Gunman kills city policeman

Slain officer had reportedly arrested shooting suspect earlier in the week

July 04, 2004|By Ryan Davis and Stephanie Hanes | Ryan Davis and Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer was fatally shot last night in Edmondson Village -- the neighborhood where he grew up -- after a confrontation with a man he had arrested earlier this week, police said.

Officer Brian D. Winder, 36, encountered the suspect about 9 p.m. in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood. The man ran from the officer until he reached G&G Village Liquors in the 4600 block of Edmondson Ave.

Police said the suspect began firing at Winder inside the store.

Winder was struck three times -- twice in the legs and once on the left side of his chest, just above his bulletproof vest, police said.

The 10-year police veteran was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.

"Sadly, on this Fourth of July weekend, Baltimore suffered another tragedy in the loss of a brave and courageous officer," said Mayor Martin O'Malley during a news conference early this morning.

Police had a suspect in custody early this morning but were not sure he was the gunman. They were testing to see if there was any gunshot residue on his clothing.

Police were also investigating whether a second man may have been involved.

Winder's family was at the hospital last night, along with the mayor and Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark.

"It's a very sad day for the department," Clark said. "People in this city have to understand what we're up against. ...

"Tonight I lost a member of my family."

An officer escorted Winder's 15-year-old son, Corey, into the hospital last night, holding the boy's hand.

Winder is also survived by his wife; a 7-year-old son, Brandon; and 24-year-old stepdaughter, police said.

A group of more than two dozen officers, many of them in street clothes, congregated outside of the Shock Trauma doors, which were illuminated by the blue and red flashing lights of a police cruiser parked outside. Many exchanged embraces. Some wiped away tears.

"It's a somber, somber time," said local police union president Dan Fickus.

After midnight, a department chaplain left the hospital, where he had been meeting with Winder's family. A detective asked him how the family was faring, and the chaplain just shook his head.

Winder, who grew up in Edmondson Village and worked most of his career in the Southwest District, had apparently arrested the man suspected of shooting him earlier in the week in connection with the sale of illegal DVDs, police said.

The owners of the liquor store said the suspect shot at the officer first from the inside of the store. Then the suspect ran outside and continued shooting at the officer, who remained outside, said the owner Jong Kim.

Kim's wife, Mia, said she heard some of the noise.

"I thought it was fireworks," she said. "The first one was a big noise, then there were several little ones."

She thought she heard four or five noises, she said.

The last Baltimore police officer killed in connection with police work was Thomas G. Newman, a 12-year veteran who was shot while off duty outside a Southeast Baltimore tavern in November 2002. His killing was apparently in retaliation for having testified against two men who shot him in an attack the previous year.

Six other officers have been killed in the line of duty since 2000.

Officer Crystal D. Sheffield, the first female police officer killed on the force, was fatally injured in a car crash in August 2002 while responding to a call to help a colleague.

Officer Michael J. Cowdery was fatally shot in March 2001 as he and another officer stopped two men for questioning in East Baltimore.

In 2000, four city officers were killed in collisions involving police cruisers.

Before last night, there had been 78 in the-line-of-duty police deaths across the country this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page Web site.

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