Officer cleared in Jessup shooting

Wounding of pair of teens in April ruled an accident

July 15, 2008|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,Sun reporter

No charges will be filed against the undercover officer who accidentally shot two Jessup teenagers police suspected of dealing drugs in April, the Howard County state's attorney's office said yesterday.

State's Attorney Dario Broccolino wrote in a letter to Police Chief William J. McMahon that prosecutors have concluded the shooting was an accident.

About 5 p.m. April 7, undercover narcotics officers stopped two teenagers, Dwain Usery, who was 14 at the time, and Garcia Wilson, who was 15, in the 8300 block of Pleasant Chase Road in Jessup, police said. One of the officers, who was not named because of his undercover status, drew his gun to approach the boys. Police say the gun discharged as the officer tripped while getting out of his car, and a single bullet struck both boys. Wilson was grazed on the arm, and Usery was hit in the torso.

The officer is a seven-year law enforcement veteran who has been with the department for four years, police said.

In a statement released yesterday, McMahon said, "It is reassuring that after a thorough, independent review of this case, the state's attorney's office determined that this shooting was unintentional.

"While we acknowledge that accidents do happen, we have reinforced with officers our expectation that they take every precaution to reduce the likelihood of this type of incident happening again."

According to McMahon's statement, the officer remains on administrative duty, and the department is finishing an internal investigation.

The attorney for the Wilson family, Charles Ware, said questions remain about what happened that day, and he called for the internal investigation to be released to the family upon completion.

"It seems obvious to me that the key for law enforcement in this case is protection for the person who caused the harm," Ware said.

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