The young man arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with an incident in Perry Hall, Maryland, in which he allegedly ran over and killed Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio on Tuesday afternoon, May 22, was 16 years old and had been a student at Baltimore’s Excel Academy.
The Baltimore Sun paints a picture of the teen as one who had been on a crime spree that ended last week when Officer Caprio responded to a 911 call about four burglars getting out of a Jeep and breaking into houses. She arrived and located the Jeep, which was then occupied by just one driver. He opened the door briefly, ducked back into the vehicle, and drove toward Ms Caprio, running her over and killing her.
A firefighter nearby attempted to resuscitate her on the scene, but she was pronounced dead at a hospital less than an hour later. She was 29 and had served with the Baltimore County Police for almost four years before her death in the line of duty. She was laid to rest at Dulaney Memorial Gardens in Timonium.
Schools in the neighborhood were placed on lockdown, affecting about 2,000 Baltimore County students, as helicopters and police dogs swept through the area. Police apprehended the teen and continued searching for three others. The driver of the Jeep did confess to running over Ms Caprio, according to court records, but his defense attorney asked the judge to consider how he must have felt to have a police officer pointing a gun at him.
Ms Caprio fired her weapon as the Jeep approached her, and body-cam footage is reportedly available of the incident. The other three juveniles were taken into custody within a day of the incident, following a manhunt.
The high truancy rate in Baltimore City schools, especially among at-risk males, is a piece of this puzzle. I work in downtown Baltimore, and every day I see young men on the street who probably should be in school, as the school year is still going. But maybe they are walking to school—not that they seem to be trying to get anywhere, actually, but I’m an optimist about these things. Besides, I have to get to work and don’t really have too much knowledge about their specific situation. But I have to wonder if anyone is aware that they are more likely to be truant than out of school. Do their parents know?
The problem, of course, is bigger than truancy—drugs and other crimes surround these young people every day. But when people, like Ms Caprio, who are making a real contribution, just get run over on a Tuesday afternoon, it begs questions about what we can do.