The girlfriend of a 23-year-old Elkridge man who was shot to death by police in Linthicum Heights on Sunday evening said he had smoked PCP shortly before the scuffle that authorities said he had with the officer.
Richard Brian Chapman, who lived in the first block of Baja Way, died immediately after the shooting, Anne Arundel County police said. Police said they searched the van Mr. Chapman was driving and found an unloaded semiautomatic handgun. Police also said Mr. Chapman had two outstanding arrest warrants for malicious destruction of property.
Mr. Chapman's girlfriend, Tammy Harris, 22, also of the first block of Baja Way, said yesterday that her boyfriend of four years and father of her 2 1/2 -year-old twin sons also had been drinking before the incident.
Officer Timothy Brown, a two-year veteran from Northern District, has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated, police said.
The incident began when police went to a house in the 400 block of Hampton Road about 7 p.m. because of neighbors' complaints of noise from a party and reports of people smoking narcotics in a red Volkswagen van parked nearby.
The officers found two men in the van who appeared to be intoxicated, police said. Mr. Chapman was one of the men, said Lt. David Shipley, a county police spokesman. The officers said they told the men in the van to go back to the party and not to drive.
Moments later, the officers saw Mr. Chapman drive off in the van, police said. The officers stopped the speeding vehicle in the first block of Hampton Road, about 10 houses from where the street intersects Nursery Road. Mr. Chapman jumped out of the van and ran toward the back yards of several houses. Officer Brown chased him.
The chase continued through several yards until Officer Brown grabbed Mr. Chapman and pulled him back as he was about to vault another fence, police said. A struggle began and Mr. Chapman tried to grab Officer Brown's 9mm handgun, police said. The gun went off once during the struggle, sending a bullet into Mr. Chapman's chest, police said.
"I looked out the window and saw the red van pull up and the police car pull up in front of it," said Wanda Jourdain, 45, who was visiting the area Sunday night. "I saw Richie get out and saw the officer walk toward him. Richie walked toward the gate and the officer asked to see his identification. That's when Richie ran and the cop took off behind him. I yelled for my husband to stop Richie because I knew something terrible was going to happen."
Shirley Miller, 64, who lives three doors away from the shooting on Nursery Road, said she heard two shots.
"I was right on my back porch," she said. "I came in and got my husband and said, 'I heard two shots.' I heard two in sequence -- bang, bang."
Sgt. Robert Johnson, a police spokesman, said Officer Brown fired only one shot. An echo may have caused some people in the area to believe they heard two shots, he said.
Ms. Harris, who was in the van, believes she too heard two shots. After the shooting, police took her to the Northern District station for questioning. She said the officers were polite but would not let her call her mother, who was baby-sitting her two small children.
"They didn't arrest me, but made me think that I couldn't leave,she said. "No one would tell me what happened to my boyfriend. The detective who finally took my statement, Keith Williams, he was very sensitive. He told me my boyfriend was dead."
Glenda Harris, Ms. Harris' mother, said Mr. Chapman loved his sons and her daughter but could not seem to straighten out his life. She described him as "confused" and said he often talked about settling down and getting a job, but always changed his mind. He dropped out of high school several years ago and worked on and off at odd jobs.
"He had been truly trying in the last four months to straighten out," she said. "He was addicted to alcohol and possibly other substances. He was scared and did what he always did when he saw the police -- run. That was his M.O."