Teen charged in officer's shooting

Girl, 17, accused of luring undercover detective to Westport ambush

April 04, 2006|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

A 17-year-old girl suspected of masterminding an attempted robbery-turned-shooting of a Baltimore police officer was arrested yesterday and charged with helping another man set up the ambush in the Westport neighborhood, according to city prosecutors and a police source.

Brittany Johnson was charged as an adult with attempted murder, armed robbery and several handgun violations, court documents say. She went before a District Court commissioner and was ordered held without bail pending a formal bail hearing that could happen today, said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office.

Johnson, of the 2400 block of Ridgely St., is accused of luring the undercover vice detective, Dante N. Hemingway, to a public housing community during his lunch break by posing as a friend of the officer, according to a high-ranking police official with knowledge of the investigation. Police are investigating a connection between the officer, Johnson and the female friend; the source said the two women share a cellular phone.

Police said they do not suspect the acquaintance was part of the attempted robbery Thursday, which ended in an afternoon shootout that left Hemingway in critical condition with bullet wounds to his neck, chest and stomach.

Court documents filed in the case allege a plot between Johnson and Jobrey Lodge, 28, whom police charged with committing the holdup and who was wounded in the left leg in the shootout.

Lodge, who was charged on Friday with attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and numerous handgun violations, was ordered held without bail yesterday by a District Court judge. Lodge appeared in court at the Central Booking and Intake Center, moving gingerly and wearing a yellow pullover. He was unable to stand up during the brief proceeding.

Lodge, of the 2400 block of Dorton Court, is being represented by a public defender.

According to court papers, homicide detectives interviewed a witness who told them about the planned robbery of Hemingway. Police have said the officer was alone, on duty and wearing plain clothes with no protective vest.

The witness, who was not identified in court papers, said the teenager used her cell phone to direct Hemingway to the Wilgrey Court area, then hid in the bushes with Lodge. Court documents quoted the teen telling him, "Watch me in action."

Police say Hemingway fired 14 shots during the shootout and hit Lodge once in the left leg. Hemingway was found lying face down in the grass about a block away from where he was shot. He used his cell phone to call the Southern District station.

Before he was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Hemingway told officers who rushed to his side that the shooter was a man wearing a gray shirt and glasses, court documents say. A wounded man fitting that description was found sitting on a rooftop next to a black face mask and sunglasses, and close to a .32-caliber revolver, the documents say.

Court documents say bullet fragments taken from Lodge's leg match the officer's gun, which was missing after Thursday's shooting but was found a few hours later.

Hemingway, 28, joined the force in July 1999 and is among the 179 officers assigned to the department's organized crime division, which targets drug trafficking, prostitution, gambling and other vice crimes.

He is scheduled to have more surgery today, according to Lt. Paul Blair Jr., the city police union president. Hemingway has already undergone two surgeries and is unable to speak.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Gus G. Sentementes contributed to this article.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.