crime watch

October 31, 2007

Police ask how boy, 15, killed by police got gun

Baltimore police said yesterday that they are investigating how a 15-year-old boy came into possession of a large handgun that they say he pointed at an officer, who then shot and killed the teen Monday.

The officer who fired the shot was identified as Justin Green, who has been with the department for 2 1/2 years. He was placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation, police said.

Police said he was patrolling in Northwest Baltimore when he spotted two juvenile boys and an adult male walking in the 4100 block of Labyrinth Road, near Reisterstown Road Plaza, about 6 p.m. The officer stopped and began to interview them when, police say, one of the boys pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the officer.

Green fired at least one shot, striking the boy in the upper torso, police said. The boy, identified as Ralph Simmont, died at Sinai Hospital later that night. Simmont lived in the 7900 block of Scotts Level Road in Randallstown.

Sterling Clifford, a Baltimore police spokesman, said the gun that Simmont was carrying was a .44-caliber Magnum revolver. He said the department's gun-trace task force has done a preliminary review of the gun's history, but the results were not immediately available.

"How does a 15-year-old find himself in possession of a .44 Magnum?" Clifford said. "The flow of illegal guns into the city is a contributing factor in homicides, nonfatal shootings and, frankly, police-involved shootings."

Relatives of Simmont could not be located for comment.

Baltimore police officers have shot 30 people this year, killing 11. Last year, city police shot 15, killing five.

Gus G. Sentementes

Shooting victim dies after crash

Northeastern District police responding to an auto accident near the city's Mount Pleasant Golf Course early yesterday found that the driver of one car had been shot. He died later at an area hospital.

Police were attempting to determine where the driver was when he was shot and then either drove or drifted into a parked vehicle.

The 31-year-old victim's name was being withheld, pending notification of family members.

Shortly before 3 a.m., police went to the 5800 block of Edgepark Road in the city's Loch Raven neighborhood in response to an auto accident and found the driver of a car that had crashed into another vehicle.

The man was bleeding from at least one gunshot wound, said Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman.

Monroe said the man was taken by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he died two hours later.

The death brought to 248 the number of homicides in the city this year as of yesterday, compared with 227 the same time last year, police said.

Police also continued to investigate the shooting death of an unidentified man whose badly decomposed body was found Monday morning in the Cedonia community.

About 11:15 a.m., police received a 911 call about an unusual odor coming from a 1999 Toyota Sienna minivan parked in the 5900 block of Radecke Ave. near Sinclair Lane.

Found in the cargo area of the van was the body of a man who had been dead for several days, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

Moses said the body was removed to the state medical examiner's office, where an autopsy showed the death was the result of a shooting.

Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-756-2587 is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in either slaying.

Gus Sentementes and Richard Irwin

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