Officer shoots, injures man in struggle

The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore police officer shot a 26-year-old man during a struggle early yesterday in the northwestern part of the city, police said.

Officer James Howard, a four-year member of the department, stopped the man in the 4000 block of Oakford Ave. for questioning. The man ran and Howard chased him, police spokesman Donny Moses said yesterday. When Howard caught up, the man turned to confront him, Moses said.

"A struggle ensued, and it got to the point where [the officer] had to fire his weapon," Moses said.

Howard shot the man in the stomach. He underwent surgery yesterday at Sinai Hospital and is expected to survive, Moses said. Police did not release the man's identity. Howard, a patrol officer in the Northwestern District who previously worked as an officer in Detroit, was not injured. He will be placed on desk duty while the department conducts an internal investigation, a routine procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting.

Howard made headlines four years ago when a bullet was deflected by his badge during a struggle with a suspect. Having graduated from the police academy a month before, Howard was patrolling on foot at night near Reisterstown Road when he called dispatchers to say he noticed a suspicious-looking man in an alley.

The man attacked and during the struggle took Howard's gun and fired a round. The bullet bounced off Howard's badge, part of which broke off. Howard wrested the gun away, ejected the ammunition cartridge and then fired a round into the air to empty the chamber.

The assailant fled, and Howard was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. Edward T. Norris, Baltimore's police commissioner at the time, praised Howard for his alertness in emptying the pistol. The badge, he said, would be a great addition to the police museum.

rona.kobell@baltsun.com

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