Man brandishing assault rifle is shot by Baltimore police

August 29, 2010|By Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun

A man who brandished an assault rifle at Baltimore police officers early Sunday did not obey a command to drop it and was shot numerous times, a spokesman for the department said.

James Montez Lucas, 30, was on life support at Maryland Shock Trauma Center after surgery, Anthony Guglielmi said. The officer who shot Lucas is a three-year veteran of the force. As is customary in such cases, the officer's name is being temporarily withheld, and he has been placed on administrative leave during an investigation into the incident.

Lucas' relatives were pressing authorities to be allowed to visit him at Shock Trauma, although police protocol generally forbids such visits.

"It's not a medical reason — it's a police reason," said Denise Dixon, Lucas' maternal aunt. "I understand protocol. I understand chain of command, and the need for regulations and laws. But do police regulations and protocol outweigh a mother's right to see her son for what's possibly the last time?"

Donny Moses, a police spokesman, said detectives in charge of the case could make allowances for Lucas' family if they so choose. But as of Sunday afternoon, no one but officers and medical personnel was allowed to see him.

"Unfortunately, he was involved in a crime." Moses said. "He's in police custody. Just like you can't walk into a jail. … It's the same difference."

Police had been dispatched to the area south of Gwynns Falls Park in West Baltimore about 2:30 a.m. after a report of a home invasion. A pair of officers spotted two men standing next to a car near the intersection of North Augusta Avenue and Rokeby Road and, as they approached to question them, it became clear that one was holding a silver handgun, Guglielmi said.

The man with the handgun, identified later as 26-year-old Steven Antwon Grant, ran off and was pursued on foot by one of the officers. The other man, Lucas, then produced a .22-caliber assault rifle, Guglielmi said. Ordered to drop it, he did not comply and was shot several times. Lucas did not discharge his weapon, and the officer who fired at him was uninjured.

Grant eluded the pursuing officer but was arrested later by other officers several blocks away at his home. Guglielmi said Grant is being treated as an accomplice and is to be charged with assault on police and resisting arrest. Officers were unable to find the handgun he had been seen holding.

Grant's criminal record shows charges involving handgun violations in 2001 and 2005 and drug offenses in 2005, 2008 and last year.

Lucas has faced more than a dozen charges dating to 1998, including unauthorized use of a weapon, hindering, disorderly conduct, theft, domestic abuse and drug violations.

The two men were friends and lived a few blocks apart, according to relatives of Lucas. On Sunday afternoon, Dixon sat in the living room of the home her nephew shared with his mother and stepfather — three blocks south of where the shooting occurred — and acknowledged that he had gone through some "problems" with the law.

"He had his issues, but he had a lot going for him," Dixon said, noting that Lucas had a job in a warehouse and a 9-month-old daughter, Honesty, whom everyone calls Lily. "We're finding all this very hard to believe. We're a religious family, and we've had a lot of trials and tribulations."

Baltimore Sun reporter Tricia Bishop contributed to this article.

nick.madigan@baltsun.com

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