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911 callers describe violent scene that led to police shooting

ShootingsAnne Arundel Medical Center

Police reports and 911 calls released by the Annapolis Police Department depict a dark, frightening scene on Copeland Street on Tuesday, as a man reportedly stabbed a woman to death and was, in turn, shot dead by police shortly after midnight.

Police identified the man as William Ranaldo Brown Jr., 31, who had had a relationship with the woman, Ronnesha Simms, 29.

"He will not get off of her. He won't get off of her. He will not get off of her," a calm but frightened woman told a police dispatcher at 12:22 a.m. When asked to keep an eye on the suspect in case he left, the caller replied: "I don't want to look out the window no more."

A few moments later: "He got a knife, they said. They said he got a knife. Please, oh my God, please. They said he got a knife. He about to stab her. Please come!"

Another 911 call released by police was mostly unintelligible, with what sounds like a female voice crying and screaming.

The next 911 caller, at 12:24 a.m., struggled to describe the scene to a police dispatcher. But she could describe what she heard: A woman screaming for her life.

"I can't see. It's pitch black. I thought I was dreaming. I woke up and I literally, it's six or seven people there. This lady is screaming at the top of her lungs," she told the dispatcher.

She said there were children "running in between them fighting."

Police arrived on the scene moments later.

Officer Gustavo Martinez, the second officer to arrive, wrote in a police report that he heard five or six gunshots as he was getting out of his car.

Police identified the officer who fired the shots as Officer Alfred Thomas, 42. He's been with the Annapolis Police for 14 years, working as a patrol officer and on the SWAT team.

Martinez said in his report that he ran up to the home, where he saw a black man lying face-down on the sidewalk and a black woman, covered in blood, lying face-up on the street.

Court records show that last August, Simms applied for criminal assault charges against Brown, saying he had sent her text messages threatening to kill her. Simms said they had fought for weeks, including Brown chasing her with a knife.

Brown pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in the case and was given a suspended sentence. He was on probation in that case as well as another assault case at the time of Tuesday's incident.

"This woman was asking Officer Thomas for help," Martinez wrote. He used his police radio to report "shots fired" and handcuffed the man.

Martinez said he checked to make sure that his fellow officer was OK. The woman asked for help again. "Officer Thomas told her that he was here to help her and advised her that more help was on the way," Martinez wrote.

Martinez later found six shell casings in the area.

Simms' children, ages 2 and 9, were found next door and were taken to the police station until a crisis team arrived, according to police reports. Relatives later took custody of the children, police said.

Another officer who arrived a few minutes after the shooting described difficulty in taping off the crime scene.

"There was a great deal of highly agitated and upset community members flocking toward the crime scene," wrote Officer Kempton Urban.

The report indicated that Urban was later ordered to report to Annapolis Middle School, which would be used as a medevac helicopter landing area, but later was told that paramedics decided to take both Brown and Simms to Anne Arundel Medical Center instead.

Arriving at the hospital, Urban was told by doctors that paramedics were performing CPR on both Simms and Brown when the ambulances arrived, but both were pronounced dead at 1 a.m.

The incident remains under investigation.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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ShootingsAnne Arundel Medical Center
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