Man charged with assault on off-duty policeman


A 49-year-old Union Bridge man, who has a permit to carry a handgun, was arrested yesterday after he allegedly pointed his weapon at an off-duty Baltimore police sergeant in a car on Route 140 in Westminster.

Ira Turner, of the 1800 block of Clear View Road, was arrested after a traffic dispute with Sgt. Stephen R. Pagotto.

The alleged incident occurred on Route 140 near Gorsuch Road about 2:30 p.m.

Mr. Turner identified himself in court papers as the owner of a carpet cleaning company.

Mr. Turner was charged with assault and one count of possession of a deadly weapon with the intent to injure.

Sergeant Pagotto told state police that after he changed lanes on Route 140, Mr. Turner became irate and began shouting obscenities at him as he tailgated the sergeant's car.

The sergeant said Mr. Turner then pulled beside him and pointed a handgun at his face.

Sergeant Pagotto said he accelerated and pulled ahead of Mr. Turner's car, but Mr. turner tailgated him again and motioned for him to pull over to the side of the road.

Charging documents filed in District Court in Westminster quoted the sergeant as saying he feared being shot from behind and pulled Mr. Turner over at Gorsuch Road.

Sergeant Pagotto then got out of his car and identified himself as a police officer, he told state police.

As Mr. Turner got out of his car, the sergeant said, he could see the outline of a gun in Mr. Turner's pocket.

The sergeant again identified himself as a police officer.

Sergeant Pagotto said he ordered Mr. Turner not to reach into his pocket for the gun, but the man put his hand in the pocket where the weapon was.

The officer said a brief struggle ensued and he pushed Mr. Turner backward and pulled out his own 9 mm semiautomatic pistol and pointed it at Mr. Turner.

Mr. Turner, who by then had pulled a .22-caliber Beretta semiautomatic pistol from his pocket, put it back into his pocket, court papers said.

The documents said an agent of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms saw the incident and stopped to assist in Mr. Turner's arrest.

Officers from the Carroll sheriff's department, the Westminster police department and the state police barracks responded to the scene after receiving a call from a passing motorist who reported seeing a man with a gun.

Police said Mr. Turner's handgun permit could be revoked if he is convicted of the charges.

Mr. Turner was held on $5,000 bond last night pending a bail review hearing tomorrow.

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