A 43-year-old Northeast Baltimore woman died after a city police officer fired his Taser at her when she attacked him, a police spokesman said yesterday.
The officer, identified by the department as Irving Hinkson, 40, a 10-year veteran and member of the SWAT team, was in the rear of the 3300 block of Belair Road doing drug surveillance Tuesday. About 10 p.m., he saw a man who he believed was carrying drugs and chased him, police said. The man threw the drugs and ran off.
"As he was going to recover the drugs, this woman jumps him and starts fighting with him," said Matt Jablow, a city police spokesman. The officer fired one shot with his Taser, he said.
The death is the second in the Baltimore area since last month linked to the use of a Taser. On March 16, Baltimore County police tried to subdue a mentally ill Middle River man and said they shot him with a Taser after he refused orders to drop a baseball bat. The man died.
Members of the SWAT team, supervisors and shift commanders are among the police officers trained to use Tasers, which are intended for use as a nonlethal alternative to handguns to subdue people. Tasers can typically deliver a 50,000-volt shock.
In Tuesday's incident, Jablow said, the officer fired once with his Taser, striking the woman in the chest. Paramedics were called to the scene and gave the woman cardiopulmonary resuscitation and transported her to Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m.
Police identified her as Uywanda Peterson, of the 3400 block of Teresa Court in Northeast Baltimore. Attempts to reach relatives of Peterson were not successful.
Officers recovered three vials of suspected crack cocaine at the scene, which they suspect were tossed by the man who fled, Jablow said.