Woman's note to officer ends in man's shooting

January 14, 2009|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

A woman appealed to a Baltimore police sergeant for help early yesterday with a written note in a 7-Eleven, which led to a confrontation in which the officer shot her male companion outside the store, authorities said.

The incident is the first police-involved shooting this year in Baltimore and the first under the department's new policy of withholding the names of officers who use deadly force in the line of duty.

Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman, declined to release the sergeant's name, noting the new policy, which police say helps ensure officer safety.

About 4 a.m., the woman, whose name was not released, approached a police sergeant who had stopped at the 7-Eleven in the 4400 block of Belair Road to conduct a routine check of the business. She wrote "help" on the back of a receipt and passed it to the sergeant, who followed her to her car, according to police.

A man who was sitting in the passenger seat of a sedan would not show his hands to the officer and began to fumble around the interior of the car, leading the officer to shoot him twice, police said. The wounded man was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was alive as of yesterday afternoon.

His name and condition were not disclosed by the police. Police also did not elaborate on the nature of the problem between the man and the woman.

A manager at the 7-Eleven declined to comment on the incident.

Several hours after the shooting, detectives received a warrant to search the vehicle and found a handgun, police said. The woman was also legally armed, though police could not say in what capacity. A source said she is believed to be a security guard.

Harris said the sergeant, a 10-year veteran, worked patrol in the Northeastern District and had never before shot someone in the line of duty.

Last year, city police shot 21 people, 13 fatally - the same number killed in 2007, according to police statistics. Another 18 people were wounded in line-of-duty shootings involving Baltimore police officers in 2007, the statistics showed.

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