From his hospital bed, a Baltimore police officer fought back tears as he recounted his mother's death from a heart attack just hours after he was shot in the line of duty near her East Baltimore home Friday night.
Mary Frances Weaver, 62, collapsed in her home in the 1900 block of Lafayette Ave., around the corner from where her only child, Officer Jerry Kevin Weaver, was wounded in a gunfight during a drug surveillance operation.
"I can't help but think if this hadn't happened," Weaver said of the shooting, "she wouldn't have had a heart attack."
City homicide detectives are investigating the shooting, which occurred about 8 p.m. Friday. Weaver and his partner, Officer Louis Holley, saw a man with a gun. Holley, a six-year police veteran, and the gunman exchanged shots, according to police.
Officers charged Samuel Keith Thompson, 40, of the 1700 block of N. Washington St. with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and a weapons violation, said Agent Ragina L. Cooper, a police spokeswoman. He was wounded in the foot and thigh.
Weaver received a bullet wound that was not life-threatening.
Weaver had plans to take his mother; his wife, Deloris; and daughter, Jenee, 19, to lunch yesterday. "I was supposed to take the time to spend with my family," he said. His other two children are Jerry Jr., 15, and Jazzy, 6.
Police Commissioner Ronald L. Daniel had met Mary Weaver at her son's bedside at Maryland Shock Trauma Center late Friday.
"There was even some light-hearted laughter because we were relieved Officer Weaver was going to recover," the chief said. "It's a tragic shock. I've never seen this kind of incident."
Weaver said that his mother, a nursing assistant, had been in good health.
'Boxed up inside of her'
James Clark, her companion for about 20 years, said she suffered from hypertension, but never had heart trouble. She complained of a headache during her visit with her son at Shock Trauma, but other than that she seemed normal, Clark said.
"She must've had it all boxed up inside of her," he said. "She didn't show it then."
Jerry Weaver, 42, a plainclothes detective in the Eastern District, told well-wishers, family and fellow officers yesterday about the 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift Friday.
With his left arm in a sling from a bullet that hit the edge of his body armor, Weaver said he could see the house where he grew up when he was shot near a snowbank in the 1700 block of N. Chapel St.
"After I got shot, the screen door to the street opened," he said of the rowhouse his mother shared with Clark. Mary Weaver rushed to her son's side, giving him a hug and a kiss as he lay bleeding on the street.
'Mayor of East Baltimore'
The officer said his usual beat is closer to Johns Hopkins Hospital near Wolfe and Eager streets, but he and his fellow officers occasionally went to "clear the corners" of drug traffic in his mother's neighborhood, Weaver said.
His colleagues call him "the mayor of East Baltimore." The real mayor of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley, showed up at his hospital room Friday night and joked with Weaver, a union negotiator, about police contract talks.
Just after midnight, one of Weaver's co-workers took his mother home.
Clark called for an ambulance a short time after Mary Weaver returned home, when she called for help and seemed short of breath. Paramedics worked to revive her before she was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly before 2 a.m.
'A beautiful lady'
Clark said Mary Weaver took her grandchildren shopping, roller skating, on field trips and to football games.
"That's a beautiful lady," said Amy Page, 80, a neighbor. "Frances is a good woman. She worked hard. She loved her neighbors."
"Our families pay the price for our careers," said police union President Gary McLhinney, a police academy classmate of Weaver's 18 years ago. "They shouldn't have to pay this kind of price."