Bel Air, MD – Police were called to a drunk officer’s residence this week after he fired off multiple rounds inside his house. The officer was reportedly drunk and suicidal, and firing shots in random directions. When police arrived on the scene he attempted to fire at them as well.
When 42-year-old James Ward shot at the officers that showed up at his home, they returned fire causing serious, but not life-threatening injuries.
Ward will be suspended from the Baltimore County Police Department without pay pending felony charges, but as of now he still has his job.
The standoff began at 12:10 p.m. on Thursday when gunshots were reported coming from inside Ward’s home.
Ward is an officer first class and a 19-year veteran of the department assigned to the White Marsh precinct, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said that Ward was the only person injured in the standoff.
“I am shocked and saddened at the actions of one of our officers this afternoon. I am thankful that none of the first responders and police personnel who handled this call were physically injured. We hope that the Baltimore County officer involved in this incident receives the medical help he apparently needs so desperately,” Johnson said.
Although Ward was shot and injured, he was taken in alive by police, a luxury that most suspects in standoffs do not have. An average person just needs to run away to get killed, but cops are usually treated with more care, even if they are acting out violently.
Last November, we reported on the story of Chicago police officer John Gorman who is facing charges of “aggravated discharge of a firearm” after he fired several shots at other off-duty cops who were attempting to pull him over while he was driving drunk. Gorman led cops on a high-speed chase, shot at them, and not only was he brought in alive, but he is still on the job during the trial.
Last October, Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy Edward Tucker was arrested after allegedly pulling a gun on a group of children at a birthday party. According to a witness, Tucker told a group of girls that he was being chased and was looking for a woman on a bicycle before pulling out his gun. When the girls denied seeing anything, Tucker reportedly aimed his firearm at each of them. He was taken in alive.
Last June, police Sgt Phil Seidle and his wife Tamara got into an argument and Phil chased her down the road with his 7-year-old daughter in the vehicle. The vehicle lost control and crashed, at which point Seidle exited the vehicle and shot and killed his ex-wife in front of a neighborhood full of people and his daughter in broad daylight. When police arrived, Seidle pointed the gun at neighbors and police. He was taken in alive.
Had Freddie Centeno been granted a minuscule portion of this restraint when cops pulled up to him, they would have realized he was unarmed and he would still be with his family today. Instead, they unloaded their weapons into him, even as he fell to the ground.
The restraint cops show when it is one of their own, even when faced with extraordinarily deadly circumstances is a kick in the teeth the families of those who’ve lost loved ones to trigger happy cops. It is also a testament to the fact that restraint is possible to preserve life, but not considered unless that life is blue.