2 Baltimore officers wounded in shooting leave hospital

Union head expects both to return to work

alleged gunman identified

March 23, 2010|By Peter Hermann | peter.hermann@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

The two police officers who were shot Sunday after they stopped a car in East Baltimore were discharged from the hospital Monday afternoon, and the police union chief said he expects both will be able to return to work.

Police officials said they would make the names of the officers public today, but a department source identified them as Jordan Moore, 23, and Keith Romans, 34. Police on Tuesday identified the gunman, whom officers shot and killed during the encounter on McElderry Street, as Thomas Miller, 29, whose last address was unknown.

Both Moore and Romans are new to the department, each with about a year of service. They were assigned to an undercover squad making gun and drug arrests along the Monument Street corridor. Doctors at Maryland Shock Trauma Center operated Sunday on both officers, and officials said the men were in good spirits.

"We expect them to make a full recovery," said Robert Cherry, president of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents officers. Police had worried that Moore, who was shot in the hand, might lose a finger, but department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that is now unlikely.

Romans was struck in the face. Cherry said that when he visited Sunday night, the officer had his jaw wired shut. "We feel confident they will be back," the union head said.

The shooting occurred shortly after midnight. Three plainclothes officers, including Moore and Romans, stopped a Chevrolet Caprice in the 2600 block of McElderry St. Police said the officers smelled marijuana, ordered the three occupants out and began to search the car.

Guglielmi said the driver, Miller, broke free, jumped back into the car, grabbed a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun and opened fire on the officers. All three officers returned fire, police said.

The officers were part of a task force called the Monument Street Initiative that concentrates on the business corridor and neighborhoods along the thoroughfare east of Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The attack comes amid talk of budget cuts that could severely affect the Baltimore Police Department. Cherry is scheduled to meet today with Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake for a briefing on what could be a $15 million cut from the agency's $350 million budget.

Numbers that have come out so far are from what is being called the "doomsday budget" -- forced cuts if no other revenue is generated. The mayor, however, plans to seek money from other areas, such as from new fees.

But under the worst-case scenario, police could lose the helicopter, boat and horse units.

Last week on WBAL Radio, police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said that cuts also could force him to lay off as many as 300 officers from a force with an authorized strength of 3,100. Though few expect that to happen, Cherry said he would use the shooting on McElderry to remind the mayor that public safety should be a priority.

"The commissioner has the right plan, and the officers who were on McElderry are hardworking and determined to make the neighborhood safer for the children who live there," Cherry said. "But there remains much work to be done. We're far from over. This is not a time to cut police. There are tough decisions to make, but we need to keep cops on the streets."

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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