Md. man faults police in wife's death
A man whose wife was shot to death by a state trooper inside their western Maryland home said Sunday that police acted rashly and used excessive force.
Veronica L. Harding-Perkins, 46, was killed by a trooper who fired several shots early Thursday morning after she pointed a gun at him from inside her doorway, police said. Troopers then established a barricade around her Libertytown home and waited about five hours before going inside and finding her body.
Police had been called to the home by the woman's husband, Dean C. Perkins, after a loud fight between the couple.
Perkins told The Associated Press that he doesn't understand why police didn't set up a barricade immediately after they arrived. He had told a dispatcher and troopers at the scene that his wife was drunk and possibly armed and said Sunday that police could have defused the situation by negotiating with her from a safe distance.
“If you know someone has a gun and they're drunk, do you just approach the residence? If they knew she had a gun, what were you hoping to accomplish by walking up to the door?” Perkins said Sunday. “I'm not painting my wife as lily white or innocent, but at the same time I'm saying the way this was handled was unconscionable.” Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, said Sunday that the shooting remains under investigation and said he could not comment on the specifics of Perkins' claims.
“The preliminary indication is that this trooper acted in defense of himself and a fellow trooper, but all of our actions will be investigated, as they always are in situations where deadly force is used,” Shipley said.
The trooper who fired the deadly shots, Cpl. Eric Corbin, is an 8-year veteran from the Frederick barrack. He and another, unidentified trooper who was with him remain on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.
Perkins said Sunday that he doesn't understand why police set up a barricade after his wife was shot instead of entering the home to provide her with medical aid. He said he hasn't seen an autopsy report and doesn't know how long his wife was alive after she was shot.
Perkins recalled asking a trooper at the scene why a SWAT team was being called in when “my wife's laying in there shot.” State police spokesman Elena Russo said after the shooting that police exercised caution because they didn't know if the woman had hostages or if there were other people inside.
Perkins also took issue with a search warrant affidavit in which a trooper wrote that Corbin reported that the woman “went back into the house and he was unsure if she had been struck.” Harding-Perkins' body was ultimately found about 4 feet inside the door to the home, according to police.
“She never moved. Where he saw her is where she was shot, and she fell dead right there,” Perkins said.
Perkins said he left the house because his wife became belligerent and was throwing things, but he did not fear for his life. He said she did not point a gun at him but he told police there were guns in the house and she had access to them. He said he called 911 hoping that police could calm her down and, if necessary, take her to jail.
A man who lives with the couple left the home after Perkins did and told police that Harding-Perkins had been holding a gun. A loaded .45-caliber Smith and Wesson semiautomatic handgun was recovered next to her body. Still, Perkins insists her life could have been spared.
“I've set aside the grief and the anger has taken over,” he said. “You call these people for help and they show up (with) guns blazing.”
-- Associated Press
| June 21, 2010; 5:44 AM ET
Categories: Crime and Public Safety, Maryland | Tags: maryland, police
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