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Mother has questions about son's alleged suicide at police station

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The mother of a 38-year-old man who police say sneaked a gun into a Baltimore police station and committed suicide said she doesn't believe the department's version of events.

"I don't feel that my son committed suicide," Verdessa McDougald said.

On Tuesday, police said officers from the Baltimore-area Warrant Apprehension Task Force picked up Woodson because they had a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of attempted murder in a recent shooting.

He was taken to the Southwestern District police station. Woodson had been shot in the foot last week, and police said he was wearing a leg brace and using crutches.

Police said they put him in a holding cell while officers searched a residence linked to him, where they found a high-powered weapon. About 2:45 p.m., police said, they escorted Woodson to a bathroom, where they said he fatally shot himself using a large-caliber gun he had sneaked in.

Police described Woodson as a violent gang member and said they were fortunate he did not use the gun on officers. They continue to investigate how he managed to have access to the gun.

Investigators haven't been able to question all of the officers who had contact with Woodson because officers have 10 days to decide whether to retain lawyers before being questioned, said Baltimore police spokesman Lt. Eric Kowalczyk.

Police also declined to release any details about the incident that led to the warrant for Woodson's arrest, nor the time, location or other details of the incident in which Woodson sustained a gunshot wound.

"Both the shooting that he was a person of interest in and the shooting where he was a victim are both open investigations," Kowalczyk said.

McDougald said over the phone from Woodson's home that she was told her son was not under investigation for a crime but had been picked up by officers to be questioned about the shooting in which he was injured. She said Woodson's fiancee was also shot in the incident but was "fine."

"I just know that my son didn't commit suicide, and the shooting that he was involved in, he was the victim and his fiancee is the victim," McDougald said.

She said she has many questions about investigators' belief that Woodson shot himself, and said police have not answered them.

"I have not seen my son's body," she said, and added that she does not know how she will afford to bury him.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justingeorge

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