As family, friends mourn, police seek 2nd suspect in officer's death

Vigil held at liquor store where Winder was killed

July 05, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police were searching yesterday for the man they believe fired some - if not all - of the bullets that killed a Southwestern District officer Saturday night while he was patrolling the neighborhood that was his lifelong home.

Immediately after the shooting in the Edmondson Village area, another man was arrested by an officer who fired at him and cornered him inside a nearby liquor store. Jermaine Gaines, 31, was charged yesterday with first-degree murder and handgun offenses in the death of 36- year-old Officer Brian D. Winder, police said.

Gaines has told detectives that the man who fled fired the shots that hit Winder, according to police. They obtained an arrest warrant yesterday naming the second suspect as Charles Bennett, 33, of the 3900 block of Flowerton Road in Edmondson Village.

Winder, a 10-year veteran of the department, was hit by three shots - including one in the left chest, just above his bulletproof vest, police said. He was pronounced dead at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where officers and his family gathered to grieve early yesterday.

"We lost a member of our family," Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark said during a news conference yesterday afternoon. "It cuts deep."

The commissioner also used the news conference to lash out at the city's criminal justice system. Both Bennett and Gaines have been arrested several times and convicted of felonies, he said.

"Why are these people out on the street?" Clark asked repeatedly, and called the assailants "terrorists."

Domestic incident

The events that led to the fatal encounter began at 8:41 p.m. with a 911 call about a domestic incident from a West Baltimore woman who said she wanted a man out of her house, police said.

When Winder arrived at 8:48 p.m., police said, the woman told him that the man she had called about was Jermaine Gaines. She described the direction he went and said that he was armed, police said.

Winder, searching the area, spotted two men who matched Gaines' description about 9 p.m. outside G&G Village Liquors, a brick- and metal-front store in the 4600 block of Edmondson Ave., Clark said.

Winder called out to the men, who then entered the liquor store - and were cornered in its roughly 100-square-foot area where customers place orders through a security barrier.

As the men entered, Winder made a radio call requesting a back-up officer, police said. Like nearly all Baltimore police officers, he patrols alone in his car.

Within a minute after making the call, Winder entered the store and was shot three times: in the chest and in the legs. He never fired his gun, police said.

"He was clearly ambushed," Clark said.

The liquor store owners have said they heard four or five shots, and the first one sounded much louder than the others - suggesting that the first shot may have been fired inside, and the others as the two suspects were leaving. But police said most of the shooting occurred inside the store.

Winder called on his radio to report shots had been fired, left the store and collapsed on the pavement outside, police said.

Just as the shooting was ending, Officer Ed Lane arrived and fired at the two men. Gaines ran inside the store, unhurt, police said, while the other man ran away. It was unknown yesterday whether the other suspect was wounded.

Police recovered a 9 mm handgun inside the store, they said yesterday.

The description of events provided yesterday by police differed from the initial account provided to the media Saturday night.

Yesterday, yellow roses rested on the broken pavement where weeds grow from the cracks alongside Edmondson Avenue. Next to the roses were a discarded medical face mask and a splotch of dried blood.

George McKnight approached the store shortly after noon. He was sobbing.

"I just wanted to see where they killed my brother-in-law," said the 49-year-old neighborhood resident.

Winder, a 1985 graduate of Carver High School, joined the police force in 1994 and spent most of his career patrolling the streets in the Southwestern District, which includes the Edmondson Village area where he was raised. He served a brief stint in the department's internal affairs unit, returning to his home district in June 2003.

McKnight said he told his brother-in-law that internal affairs seemed like a good job.

"I need to be on the street," Winder responded, according to McKnight.

"He wanted to make a positive impression on the young people and get these drug dealers off the corner," McKnight added.

Winder was married and had two sons, Corey Winder, 15, and Brandon Winder, 7, and a 24-year-old stepdaughter, police said. The names of his wife and stepdaughter were not available.

Seven others killed

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

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