By Ethan McLeod and Brandon Weigel
Baltimore County police have arrested a male teenager in connection with the killing of an officer following a Monday afternoon incident in Perry Hall, and have three other teens in custody, the department said this morning.
The 16-year-old was arrested “shortly after” the officer’s death, and is awaiting his bail hearing, spokesman Corp. Shawn Vinson confirmed in a tweet. The department initially said it planned to release his name and charges after the hearing, but soon after identified him as Dawnta Anthony Harris, of West Baltimore.
Harris is being charged as an adult with first-degree murder, court records show. He does not have an attorney listed with his name. The Baltimore Sun first identified him Tuesday morning, citing charging documents.
The department confirmed Tuesday morning that three other teenage males were in custody as well. Police say the quartet was involved in a series of burglaries in the area near Linwen Way in Nottingham. WJZ first reported that the three others had been detained.
Police also confirmed the slain officer’s identity as Amy Caprio, a nearly four-year veteran of the department.
#BCoPD are confirming the slain officer is Police Officer First Class Caprio. She was a 3 year, 10 month veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department. This continues to be an active investigation and more details will be released throughout the day. ^NL pic.twitter.com/i91cie92Sx
— BACO Public Safety (@BACOPoliceFire) May 22, 2018
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan told reporters the department had received calls about 2 p.m. Monday reporting a suspicious vehicle, and then a burglary in progress.
Officer Caprio reported to the scene, followed a black Jeep into the court at Linwen Way, where it stopped. She turned around, exited her patrol car and ordered the driver to get out of the Jeep. The driver opened the door and closed it, then “hit her, struck her, drove over her,” said Sheridan.
Other units responded to the scene as Caprio lay seriously injured on the ground. Caprio was taken to MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
Sheridan said descriptions from witnesses at the scene led them to pick up Harris on Belair Road. The other three juveniles were apprehended in their West Baltimore residences.
Despite earlier reports Monday that Caprio had been shot, Sheridan said there was no gunshot wound.
According to multiple reports from a bail hearing this morning, Harris had been charged with four different auto thefts since December 2017.
The secretary of the Department of Juvenile Services, Sam Abed, said at the Tuesday afternoon press conference that Harris was released May 10 on home detention with electronic surveillance, but because his department did not feel he was in compliance, they had requested the court to bring him back in. The court postponed a scheduled hearing.
Juvenile services had been trying to get in contact with Harris, Abed said.
The other three juveniles are awaiting charges, but Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger suggested they could be charged with felony murder.
“That is when individuals work as co-defendants in committing a felony, which the burglary of a house is, they are in for everything that occurs as a result of that burglary, including when their co-defendant is outside running over a police officer and killing her,” he said.
Both Shellenberger and Sheridan said investigators were continuing to build cases against the other three suspects, including the possibility they were involved in another robbery two miles away. Charges would come in “the very near future,” said Sheridan.
Citing an increase in serious crimes committed by juveniles, the police chief offered that there should be a conversation about youth intervention.
“I think we all have to get together and have a much more concerted effort to, perhaps, identify these problems early on, so we don’t get juveniles into this situation so young in life,” he said.
Speaking of Caprio, Sheridan said she was the kind of officer that would one day be promoted to a leadership role within the department, calling her “smart, athletic, energetic.”
“When you hire someone like that and see that potential, you say we’re in good hands, we’re gonna be OK,” he said. “But when snuffed out like this, you have emotions which, I think, make you wonder what’s really going on out there.”
A viewing will be held Thursday at the Schimunek Funeral Home. On Friday, Caprio’s funeral will be at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, followed by her burial in the Fallen Heroes section at the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
This story has been updated.