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The Nose

Cop Shoot Cop

Posted 1/28/2004

It was a typical New Year's celebration in Baltimore. Although it was bitterly cold, a large group of people gathered to watch the display at the Inner Harbor. And, in another Baltimore tradition, fireworks of a different kind were going off in other parts of town: revelers shooting their guns into the air. Fortunately this year, it appears that no one was hit by bullets returning to earth. There was one reported shooting, though. Baltimore City Police officer John Dolly was shot in the buttocks during a confrontation with an armed man. When the police department released the details of the shooting, it explained how Dolly and other officers were trying to deter a man on the 900 block of North Montford Street from shooting his gun into the air. The man refused and began running and firing at officers, and the police report indicates that "gunfire was exchanged" during which Dolly was shot. What the police department failed to tell the media or write in its report is that, according to chief of detectives Antonio Williams, Dolly was shot by another police officer, not the armed suspect.

The Nose has read hundreds of police reports over the years, and when we got our hands on the one about the New Year's Eve incident, we noticed something unusual about it. A typical police report contains a lot of specifics about an incident--things like what direction people were facing, the types of weapons used and recovered from the scene, the number of shell casings found, the number of officers at the scene. This report had none of that kind of vital information.

The relevant portion simply reads: "On 1 Jan 2004 at 0020 hrs Officers on routine patrol heard discharging of a firearm in the area of the 900 blk of N. Montford Ave. Upon investigating, Officers were confronted by an armed suspect at which time gunfire was exchanged. As a result Officer Dolly sustained a single GSW [gunshot wound] to the buttocks."

It seems to the Nose that if any police report was written to hide the rather embarrassing truth, it is this one.

We immediately called Williams, who acknowledged that suspect Renard Lynch was not the man who shot Dolly. The way he described the incident, four officers were at the scene, and Dolly and Lynch were facing one another, sandwiched between the other officers. When the shooting started, Dolly was hit in the ass and Lynch was hit in the right shin, but police will never know for sure which officer was responsible for the shots because doctors decided to leave the bullets in the victims' bodies. But Williams says that a police investigation of the scene did indeed confirm that it was a police bullet that struck Dolly.

Lynch, who Williams says fired more than one shot, is charged with four counts of attempted murder. Under Maryland law, he's responsible for Dolly's injury though he didn't inflict it, because once a suspect is engaged in a felony activity, he is legally responsible for everything that results from his actions. And shooting at police officers is definitely a felony activity.

Both men's wounds were relatively minor, although undoubtedly painful, and they've both been released: Dolly to recover at home and Lynch to recover in the confines of a jail cell.

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