Officer charged in teen's death

14-year-old boy is shot in back outside man's shed

August 21, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes and Reginald Fields | Stephanie Hanes and Reginald Fields,SUN STAFF

An off-duty police officer with the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of a 14-year-old he said was breaking into his home's shed early yesterday, Baltimore police said.

D'Koy Dancy was shot in the back shortly after midnight - minutes after he called his mother to assure her that although he had missed his 11:30 p.m. curfew, he would be home soon, police said.

He was pronounced dead around 1 a.m. at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

"It has got to stop," said Tonnette Dancy, D'Koy's mother, at her Southwest Baltimore home yesterday evening. "Kids are angry, police are angry and everybody is dying."

Ronald Johnson Sr., a 30-year-old officer at the Spring Grove Hospital Center, is accused of shooting the teen from a second-story bedroom window, according to court documents.

Johnson told Baltimore police officers that the shooting was an accident, and that the gun fired as he stumbled over clutter in his 12-year-old son's bedroom and fell into the window screen, according to court papers.

Dancy said she was told that her son was shot three times, and she questioned how that could have been accidental. But court papers do not indicate that he was shot more than once.

It was past midnight when Johnson looked out the dining room window of his home in the 5000 block of Lindsey Road, according to the court papers. He saw two youths trying to break into the shed on the far side of his property with what looked like bolt cutters, court papers say.

According to the court papers, Johnson's wife told police that her husband ran upstairs to a window in his son's room, holding his Glock handgun.

His son told police that he awoke when his father came into the room, and that he heard the gun "click."

Johnson's wife said she heard a gunshot, the court papers say, and seconds later her husband ran downstairs and told her to call 911. His wife said he told her that he had shot one of the youths in the back, according to court papers.

When police and paramedics arrived, Johnson was giving the teen CPR, police said. Police found hedge trimmers cutting into the shed's cable.

Karen R. Black, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said she had no information on how long Johnson has worked on the police force at Spring Grove, a psychiatric hospital in Catonsville, or any details about his employment record.

Police at Spring Grove do not carry firearms, hospital officials said.

Johnson's wife was unavailable for comment last night.

At her house yesterday evening, around the corner from the spot where her son was killed, Tonnette Dancy spoke about her son, whom she had home-schooled for the past year and a half.

He was a "bit of knucklehead," she said, but he had never been in serious trouble. He spent time with his friends, playing football, basketball and video games.

And he loved dirt bikes, she said. She said one of her son's friends told her that Johnson might have kept a dirt bike in his shed.

Dancy learned of her son's shooting no more than 20 minutes after he called her on his cell phone. One of his friends knocked on the door of her corner rowhouse.

D'Koy has been shot, the friend said.

She rushed down the street and around the corner to the 5000 block of Lindsay.

Paramedics were working on her son but would not be able to revive him.

Dancy and her husband, James M. Dancy Jr., have two other children - James R., who is 13, and 6-year-old Tonisha.

She said she wonders what they will face, in a city where all too many young people die.

"My son was 14 years old," she said. "He didn't have a chance to get a job, to have a family or have children. Something's got to change."

Johnson was being held at the Central Booking and Intake Center.

Dancy said funeral services will be held Friday.

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