Hundreds pay respects to a fallen city officer

Viewing continues today

funeral Mass and burial are scheduled tomorrow

July 08, 2004|By Scott Waldman | Scott Waldman,SUN STAFF

Hundreds of colleagues, friends and family members paid their respects to slain Baltimore police Officer Brian D. Winder yesterday, recalling his dedication to the job and expressing gratitude that his alleged killer was no longer on the loose.

Some of Winder's friends, such as Sgt. Malik Jenkins-Bey, said they felt relief and frustration upon learning that alleged shooter Charles Bennett committed suicide early yesterday morning.

"He's not only robbed me of a friend," Jenkins-Bey said of Bennett, "he's robbed me of an explanation."

On Saturday night, Winder, 36, was ambushed by two men at a liquor store in Edmondson Village, where he grew up.

One suspect in the shooting, Jermaine A. Gaines, has been charged with first-degree murder. After a three-day manhunt, Bennett was found early yesterday morning at the Relax Inn in Northwest Baltimore. He shot himself in the head moments before he could be taken into custody.

Despite a torrential downpour during parts of yesterday's viewing for Winder, a steady stream of people went to the Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home on Liberty Road in Randallstown.

Detective Wendy Farley and Officer David Mills smiled as they remembered some of Winder's jokes. Both are members of the honor guard in which Winder served.

Along with Winder, they represented the Baltimore Police Department at a funeral for a slain Pennsylvania sheriff late last winter. All three were surprised at the relatively small number of people who attended the funeral.

"We were saying, `I hope people turn out for mine,'" Farley said as undercover detectives and officers from precincts throughout the city filed past her.

Even though Eustacahe Greene did not know Winder too well, he attended the viewing. Greene said he had lost touch with Winder after they worked together at the Baltimore City Detention Center. He wanted to show his solidarity with other law enforcement officials.

"As a fallen comrade, I had to come and pay my respects," Greene said.

Charles Roberts of Baltimore was one of Winder's many friends at yesterday's viewing. The two had known each other since they were teenagers in Edmondson Village. Roberts said Winder taught other people that with hard work, anything was possible.

Jenkins-Bey, 26, said Winder made a strong impression on him during their five-year friendship. He described Winder as his inspiration for joining the police force.

Winder and another officer, Kevon Gavin, used to frequent the Hollywood Video store on Edmondson Avenue where Jenkins-Bey was a manager. Their conversations convinced Jenkins-Bey that he had a future in the Police Department.

Gavin was killed in the line of duty in 2000 when a gunman being chased by police officers hit his cruiser.

Jenkins-Bey shook his head in disgust as he recalled the unnecessary deaths of two people who had changed his life.

"It's always the good ones they take from us," Jenkins-Bey said.

The viewing for Winder continues today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A funeral Mass will be offered tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St., followed by burial at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

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