Officer given desk duty Bonsall transferred after fatal shooting


A Baltimore County narcotics officer was placed on routine administrative duty yesterday after fatally shooting a suspected drug dealer in Southwest Baltimore, city police reported.

Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a police spokesman, said Detective James C. Bonsall, 40, would remain on administrative duty until the Baltimore City state's attorney's office receives a report on whether the shooting was justified.

The incident began at about 10.30 p.m. Tuesday when Baltimore County narcotics officers arranged to make an undercover buy of crack cocaine at a convenience store in Arbutus, Sergeant Doarnberger said.

Police Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman, said the suspect pulled into the lot of the convenience store at Highview Avenue and Maiden Choice Lane. He sped off when realized he was about to be arrested.

Police chased the 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier from Baltimore County to Southwest Baltimore, where the suspect jumped from the vehicle in the 4300 block of Parkton St., Agent Price said.

Sergeant Doarnberger said the suspect turned as he fled and appeared to be concealing something in his hands. "That's when Bonsall fired," the sergeant added.

Police said the suspect, Troy Larente Whitaker, 23, of the 1900 block of Hillcrest Road, was struck once above the left buttock by one of two shots fired by the officer.

Mr. Whitaker was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died at 12:26 a.m. yesterday while undergoing surgery, police said.

Police said they recovered 26 vials of crack cocaine from the man's car. Along the pursuit route, police said they recovered a loaded .44-caliber handgun believed to have been discarded by Mr. Whitaker.

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