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Officer hit by police bullet Bullet deflects after it hits menacing dog.


A city policeman was accidentally wounded when he was hit by a ricocheting bullet that his partner had fired through a menacing dog.

Officer Darren Blackwell was released from a hospital last night and was expected to return to duty soon.

He and Officer Thomas Clemons were in an unmarked car around 8 p.m. when they saw what appeared to be two men involved in a drug deal on the corner of Lauretta and Warwick avenues in West Baltimore, said Lt. James Rainey of the Western District.

As the officers approached, the men bolted and ran into a house in the 2500 block of Lauretta Ave.

Moments later, according to a police report, one of the men reappeared at the front door with a dog, a mixed-breed terrier. One of the officers reported that he heard the man say something to the dog but couldn't make out what was said, Rainey said.

The dog approached the officers in a threatening manner, forcing Clemons and Blackwell to retreat down the steps and onto the pavement, Rainey said. The dog continued to advance, according to the officers' report.

Clemons pulled out his service revolver and fired one shot at the dog, hitting it in its left front leg, Rainey said. The bullet passed through the dog's leg, ricocheted off the pavement and hit Blackwell in the right elbow.

Rainey said several other officers arrived on the scene and arrested the two men seen earlier on the corner.

Blackwall was taken to the emergency room of the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he was treated for a minor gunshot wound and released. The dog was taken to the city animal shelter, where it was treated and held.

Rainey said police consulted with a member of the state's attorney's office, and no charges were filed. The two men were released.

"The prosecutor said there was no hard evidence that the men were dealing in drugs and nothing to support charging one of them or both with assaulting the officers by ordering the dog to attack them," Rainey said.

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