Much longer article here:
Still not much to go on fact-wise. They'll eventually release the eyewitness statements, but I'm curious why a fight between 2 people didn't just end at that.Chief says evidence supports shooting
Slain soldier fired before officer, he asserts
By Annie Linskey
July 24, 2007
Baltimore's acting police commissioner said yesterday that detectives have an "abundance" of evidence that a Fort Meade-based soldier fired his powerful Desert Eagle handgun just before he was shot and killed by a city police officer.
"The bottom line is the facts speak for themselves, and the evidence speaks for itself," said acting Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III. "We have abundance of both."
Family members of Army Spc. Alexander E. Larkin, 25, had expressed skepticism that the Iraq war veteran would have fired a weapon in the presence of a police officer early Sunday in the Harbor Park garage. But a source familiar with the investigation, who is not permitted to speak publicly because the case is ongoing, said that witness accounts were consistent that the police officer fired second.
"The men and women in this police department are not running away from trouble," Bealefeld said. "If bad guys want to pull out guns and try to harm citizens or cops, we're going to take the steps necessary to stop that from happening."
The shooting happened after Larkin, who was assigned to Fort Meade's military intelligence unit, spent Saturday night out with a group of his friends - most of whom are in the military.
Around closing time at downtown bars, the group went to the Harbor Park garage, where their cars were parked. They planned to head home to Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, where many of them were stationed, a relative of Larkin's said.
Police said that a fight broke out between one of Larkin's friends and another person on the second floor of the parking garage. Police would not say what caused the fight.
Officer Jared Stern, 25, was working a second job providing security and was in the last hour of his shift when he heard the commotion, police said. He used pepper spray to break up the fight, and opened fire when Larkin fired a shot from a .50-caliber Desert Eagle handgun, police said.
Police have declined to say how many bullets struck Larkin or how many shots Stern fired. The officer, who has been with the department since March 2006, has been placed on routine administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation by the city's homicide unit.
Paul Blair, the police union president, said: "I'm hearing from witnesses at the scene that [Larkin's gun] sounded like a cannon going off."
Blair said he believes the shooting was justified. "Everyone's life was in danger" when Larkin got his gun, Blair said. "Thank God the police were there, or we could have a couple more homicides."
Blair noted that police are trained to shoot for the center of a body - the chest area - and not for an arm or a leg. "What happens if you shoot the arm, which is really small, and miss and kill somebody else? It is nice on TV, but in real life that doesn't occur."
Bob Stone, a civilian spokesman for the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, confirmed that Larkin was an active-duty soldier, but would not say how long he had served or give any details of his record.
Robin Harris of Silver Spring, the soldier's mother, said yesterday that she has heard little information from the Police Department. She said she asked to get copies of witness statements but that a homicide detective told her that information wouldn't be available "for quite some time."
She said her son had a 3-year-old son; he and his ex-wife had joint custody of the boy.
Larkin was born in Jersey City, N.J., but grew up around Washington, in the suburbs of Northern Virginia and Maryland.
Harris said her son wanted to be in the military from an early age. "It's just something that he wanted to do," she said. "When he was younger and I asked him what he wanted to be, he would tell me he wanted to be a warrior."
Larkin attended Bowie State University in 2001 and 2002, where he was majoring in English, according to a university spokeswoman.
Harris said that her son was out Saturday night with other friends in the military, and that he would have never pointed a gun at an officer. "My son would never shoot at a cop," she said.
Alexander Larkin's uncle Richard Larkin described his nephew yesterday as a soldier in excellent physical condition who had had a difficult tour in Iraq but wanted to return. "That shocked the daylights out of everyone," said Richard Larkin. "We were worried about him, and we didn't want anything to happen to him. He told me it was very dangerous."
Curtis Barnes, another uncle, said that he received letters from Larkin when he was Iraq. "He would say he was too busy to talk," Barnes recalled. "He would say it is a lot worse than what you see on TV, as far as the violence is concerned."
"He's an Iraqi war veteran, and he knows the rules of engagement," Barnes said. "I'm thinking even anyone who doesn't have any military background would know, if you point a gun at a police officer ... "
"I find it very hard to believe."
Funeral services have not been arranged.
Sun reporter Gus G. Sentementes contributed to this article.
Did Stern identify himself as security, or say that he was armed?
Why did Larkin get sprayed if he wasn't part of the fight?
Why was Larkin even armed in Bal'more coming out of a bar?
Was Larkin under the influence?
Why the hell would you ever carry a .50 DE for self-defense? Forget about the size and concealability (since you obviously can't OC in MD)... I'm talking about being able to fire it accurately and worry about overpenetration.
Too many questions, answers probably never.