Police ask tipster to call back

In two interrupted calls, man gave leads about officer's shooting on The Alameda

December 08, 2006|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

Baltimore police pleaded yesterday to hear again from a man who called 911 and gave them promising leads in the shooting of a police officer before hanging up.

Detective Lt. Scott Baker, a supervisor in the homicide unit, said the male tipster called 911 twice Wednesday afternoon, a day after Officer Momodu Gondo was wounded near his Northeast Baltimore home.

The tipster's first call came from a payphone whose location police declined to disclose. The man provided information, then hung up. A short time later, the man called from another phone - possibly a cell phone - and began providing more information before he hung up or was disconnected.

At a news conference, Baker implored the man to call the department's homicide division directly, at 410-396-2100. He would not elaborate on the quality of the information that the man provided but said it piqued investigators' interest.

"Please call again," Baker said. "We invite calls from any source, including those who wish to remain anonymous."

The Police Department has assigned patrol and plainclothes officers to pursue leads on two men suspected of involvement in the shooting of Gondo, 23, as he returned home from his patrol shift in the Northwestern District. Homicide detectives are investigating the incident, a standard practice in shootings involving police officers.

The officer was approached by two men after he parked his car in the 5700 block of The Alameda about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. One of the men opened fire with a handgun, and Gondo, who wore a coat over his uniform and was wearing his police-issue bullet-resistant vest, pulled out his department-issue handgun and returned fire, police said.

Gondo was shot twice in the back and once in the bowel and also suffered a graze wound, police said. Police officials did not disclose the number of shots Gondo fired and said they were unsure whether he struck either suspect.

The officer remained at Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday and has been cooperating with investigators, Baker said. He was listed in serious condition.

Gondo was hired by the department last year, and graduated from the police academy in October. He was born in Fort Riley, Kan., and graduated from Northern High School in 2000.

Police officials said there have been several armed robberies along that stretch of The Alameda in recent months. In October, police arrested three men who they suspected were responsible for some of the robberies.

In addition to calling the homicide office, anyone with information about the shooting of the officer or other crimes can call Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7-LOCKUP. Tipsters could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.

Gondo's shooting is the third nonfatal shooting of a Baltimore police officer this year.

In September, Officer Robert G. Cirello was shot while patrolling Patterson Park. His body armor prevented serious injury. Two men suspected in that shooting remain at large.

In March, Officer Dante Hemingway was shot in the neck, chest and stomach in the South Baltimore's Westport neighborhood while on his lunch break. Hemingway had gone to visit a woman he had recently met and was shot by a man recruited by the woman's jealous lover.

Two people arrested in that case pleaded guilty in October.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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