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News Maryland Baltimore Crime Beat

Wounded Baltimore officer remains critical, but stable

Baltimore Police Sgt. Keith Mcneill, who was off duty when he was ambushed and shot multiple times Friday night, was in critical but stable condition Monday, while his alleged shooter is expected to have a bail review hearing Tuesday.

Mcneill was sitting in his car outside a friend's auto repair shop in the 1900 block of Belair Road when the shooting occurred. Police quickly identified 34-year-old Gregg Thomas as a suspect, and on Sunday, Thomas turned himself in to face charges of attempted murder.

Charging documents for Thomas do not list a motive for the crime, and police said over the weekend that they do not know of one. The documents say only that witnesses identified Thomas through photo lineups as the person who shot Mcneill, a well-liked 19-year veteran of the agency who is assigned to the Eastern District.

Thomas professed his innocence in an interview with WJZ-TV moments before he turned himself in. Thomas had been released from prison last year after serving about 10 years on a second-degree murder conviction.

Vaughn Lindsey said he immediately recognized the face of his son's killer when he saw an image of Thomas flash on his TV screen over the weekend. Lindsey's 17-year-old son Davon Lindsey was shot and killed by Thomas in February 2003.

"I knew when I saw the picture that was him," said Lindsey, who was watching alone. "I just said, 'Well, he got himself into something else.' "

Vaughn Lindsey said he thought at the time that the sentence was too light. "He shouldn't have got out as early as he did," he said.

Thomas pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 30-year prison term, with 15 years suspended. He was released from prison in January 2013 under a policy known as mandatory release, according to corrections officials.

People convicted of violent crimes must serve at least half of the term imposed by a judge but can earn credits while in prison to reduce their total sentence. Inmates released before the end of their term are required to report to a probation agent for the remainder of the length of the sentence.

Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said Thomas had complied with the terms of his supervision until being arrested Sunday.

Thomas was processed at Central Booking on the new charges Monday and was being held without bond. Prosecutors said they expect he will have a bail review Tuesday morning, when he can ask to be released or have a money bail set. At the hearing, authorities could urge a judge to hold Thomas while he awaits trial and lay out more details of their investigation.

No lawyer was listed for Thomas in court records.

The shooting and Thomas' arrest came on the heels of the arrest of his brother, Lamont Thomas, who authorities say was pulled over March 11 driving through Cecil County with nine pounds of cocaine secreted in a hidden compartment inside the vehicle. Thomas posted $500,000 bond the following day and was released from custody in Cecil County, and was charged Friday in a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court.

Lamont Thomas also is expected to appear in court Tuesday, on the drug charges. Edward Marcinko, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Lamont Thomas had been interviewed by Baltimore police over the weekend as they searched for his brother.

A lawyer who previously represented Lamont Thomas said he had spoken to him about the case but had not been retained. He declined to comment on the charges.

In the search for Gregg Thomas, police went to numerous locations, including the home of his mother, Sharon Walker. Walker and Thomas' sister, Shalena Gadson, 30, were charged after police said they found drugs in the home during a search for Thomas on Friday, records show.

Walker said in a brief phone interview Monday that the drugs did not belong to them and that police had only charged them because they had trouble finding Thomas. "We ain't got nothing to do with this," Walker said.

Meanwhile, friends and family of Mcneill were pulling for his complete recovery. Mcneill is a motorcycle enthusiast who liked to travel to Charles Town, W Va., to race on a track, and friend Roger Lyle said Monday that "everybody in the motorcycle community is praying for him."

"That's all we can do, and think good thoughts for him," Lyle said.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

iduncan@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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