Det Thomas G. Newman

Fallen HeroDetective Thomas G. Newman



On April 21, 2001, Detective Newman drove his Chevy S-10 pickup into an Amoco gas station in South Baltimore. While there, he encountered four men who began to taunt him. Newman identified himself as a police officer, believing that would diffuse the situation. The men walked away, but not before one of them boldly reached and touched his back to indicate he had a weapon. Detective Newman used his cell phone and called 911 from his vehicle as he followed the dark red Mazda MPV the men got into. Believing at least one of the men was armed, Newman did not approach them, nor did he want to lose sight of the red Mazda. Newman alerted authorities and gave the 911 operator his location in an attempt to summon sufficient police units. Before police could get to Newman’s location, the men exited their vehicles, all running in different directions. Unbeknownst to Newman, one of the men doubled back and approached the rear of his truck. Newman was on his cell phone with the 911 dispatcher when the man fired five shots. Newman was wounded as a result of the attack. Despite his injuries, Detective Newman remained committed to the job he loved. Tragically, Detective Thomas G. Newman, a twelve-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, was shot and killed on Saturday, November 23, 2002, at approximately 1:50 a.m. He was leaving Joe’s Tavern, located in the 1000 block of Dundalk Avenue. The painful loss of Detective Newman sent shock waves through the police department. The investigation into his murder led to an eerie and devastating conclusion. Three men planned to kill Detective Newman in retaliation for his testimony in the April 2001 shooting that left him wounded, so they ambushed him. Investigators learned one of the suspects responsible for Newman’s murder was the half-brother of the suspect, who was convicted and imprisoned for the attempted murder of Detective Newman in April of 2001. The surviving members of Detective Newman's family are his son, daughter, mother, sisters, brother, nieces, and nephews. Detective Newman was a key part of his family unit; his strength and love are a painful loss. His death has also saddened his squad members in the Check and Fraud Unit. Sorrowfully, Tommy’s desk is as he left it. His jacket hangs on the back of his chair. Photographs of his children hang on the surrounding wall, and slips of phone messages are neatly stacked one on top of the other.

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From the Baltimore Sun

A city officer, 37, was shot to death during an ambush. Three men are charged in apparent retaliation for testimony on the 2001 attack; `Flat-out execution'; the detective was off duty, leaving the bar with his girlfriend when gunfire erupted on November 23, 2002. 

An off-duty Baltimore police officer was shot and killed early yesterday as he stepped outside a bar in apparent retaliation for testifying against two men convicted of wounding him during an ambush last year. Detectives, who described the shooting as a "flat-out execution," arrested three men in the killing of Detective Thomas G. Newman, 37, and charged them with first-degree murder. The death of the 12-year-old veteran sent waves of fear and anger throughout the city Police Department as officers tried to cope with the brazen attack on an officer who did nothing more than testify against those who had tried to kill him. It is the third incident in eight days in which city officers have been hit by gunfire; five were wounded. "This has been a really rough stretch for us," Mayor Martin O'Malley said. "This is a horrible loss for the city." Speaking at a news conference yesterday afternoon, Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris said detectives were "strongly" looking at the link between Newman's death and the previous attack.

Norris declined to discuss the specifics of the shooting. But police said one of the three men in custody was the half-brother of Andre A. Travers, 25, who was convicted of attempted second-degree murder in the near-fatal shooting of Newman in April last year. 
Police identified Travers' half-brother as Raymond Saunders, 22, whose last known address was in the 800 block of Fifth Ave. in Halethorpe.

Police sources could not say what role Saunders played in yesterday's shooting. They identified the other two suspects as Jovan J. House, 21, of the 2000 block of Dorton Court, and Anthony A. Brown, 34, of the 1000 block of N. Chappel St. All three have been charged with first-degree murder and were being held at the Central Booking and Intake Center last night. Saunders' other half-brother, Larry Travers, 27, said last night that Saunders has been accused of a crime he did not commit. "That just doesn't sound like my brother," Larry Travers said. "He doesn't have that type of mentality." Saunders, Brown, and House have been convicted of minor drug offenses, court records show. It does not appear that they had been charged with any violent crimes before yesterday's shooting. Police sources said that Saunders spotted Newman at Joe's Tavern in the 1000 block of Dundalk Ave. in Southeast Baltimore, one of the officer's favorite hangouts.

Saunders then went to find friends, police sources said. As Newman left the bar with a girlfriend about 1:50 a.m., two men approached him and opened fire without uttering a word, police said. Newman fell to the ground, police said, and the gunmen stood over his body, aimed, and continued to shoot. Three bullets struck the officer's chest, and at least one was found lodged in his heart, Norris said. The girlfriend was not injured, and the police declined to provide more details. Norris, who had visited Newman in the hospital after the officer was wounded last year, said he was allowed to see Newman's body early yesterday. "That confirmed my worst fears," Norris said. "This is awful. It looked like he had been executed."

After yesterday's shooting, the two men jumped into a waiting car and sped away, police said. A man working as a security guard near the bar watched the shooting, grabbed the officer's gun, jumped into a car, and followed the three men, police said. The security guard fired at the men during the chase but did not hit anyone, police said. As the fleeing men entered the O'Donnell Heights housing complex, police said they spotted the security guard, jumped out of their car, and scattered. One of the men was found cowering in a shed, and investigators tracked down the other two men by mid-morning, according to detectives. Police recovered a 9 mm handgun and a.32-caliber handgun, both used in the shooting of Newman, and obtained tape-recorded statements from the suspects. "There is no doubt they knew what they were going to do," said one police source close to the investigation. "We have a clear indication that they knew he was a police officer.

They knew he was the police officer involved in the other incident." Gary McLhinney, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, said prosecutors should seek the death penalty because Newman's killing was clearly linked to his law enforcement duties.

"There is no wiggle room here," McLhinney said. "He was killed because he was a cop, and these scum deserve the death penalty." A spokeswoman for State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said yesterday afternoon that her office could not comment on death penalty deliberations because charges had not been filed at that time.

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The shooting was eerily similar to the one Newman barely survived on a dark street in April last year. About 2:30 a.m. on April 21, Newman was off duty and driving south on Baltimore-Washington Parkway when he pulled off to get gasoline and sodas at an Amoco station at Cherry Hill Road and Waterview Avenue. As he got out of his car, several men began taunting him, and an argument broke out. During the confrontation, one of the men hinted that he had a handgun. Newman told the men that he was a police officer and that he also had a weapon. The argument seemed to peter out, so Newman went inside the station to buy sodas. But one of the men entered the store and told the off-duty officer that he had guns and knew where to find him. The incident shook Newman, and as he was trying to leave, the men taunted him again from across the street before driving away in a Mazda MPV. As Newman left the parking lot, he spotted the van. Worried that the men might be dangerous, he called 911 dispatchers to ask for backup and began following the Mazda. He spotted it parked at Salerno Place near Norfolk Avenue in the Westport community. Newman had no idea that two men had slipped away from the van and were waiting for him. A few hundred feet from the Mazda, Newman stopped and was talking to 911 dispatchers when shots rang out. The two men had silently approached Newman, who was hit twice in the back of the neck but managed to scramble out of his car and fire one shot that missed his attackers. Police said at the time that as many as five men were involved in the shooting, but they were able to identify only two: Travers and Marcellus Henriques, 22. Both were convicted in March of attempted second-degree murder and were sentenced three months later to 30 years in prison. "He still had the bullets in him" when he testified this year, said Ahmet Hisim, an assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case. "He was in pain." After the shooting, Newman impressed many of his colleagues by overcoming his injuries and returning to work. He was a member of the Warrant Apprehension Task Force, a demanding unit that requires detectives to hunt for dangerous suspects accused of violent crimes. But he did not let the physical labor deter him from returning to the job, said Maj. George Klein, the unit's commander. "He was a hard worker and conscientious," Klein said. "He almost died the first time he was shot, and he survived it and had a rough recovery. He pushed himself to come back." The physical and emotional toll of the shooting and his long recovery pushed Newman to seek a less demanding job. He transferred to a small unit that specializes in fraud investigations. Newman, who lived in Baltimore and has family in Prince George's County, was a frequent customer at Joe's Tavern for about four years. Sometimes, he even acted as a security guard. Patrons and workers described him as a friendly guy willing to help a friend or offer advice. "You couldn't find a better person," said Tom Townsend, 59, who runs the package goods section of the bar. "He never drank very much, and he liked to smoke a cigar now and then. I'm telling you, he was a prince." Newman is survived by a 6-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter.


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Police mourn death of detective


`Officers are devastated'


3 men charged in ambush appear in court today

November 25, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police mourned the death of Detective Thomas G. Newman yesterday and struggled to comprehend the execution-style killing that authorities have linked to an earlier ambush of the veteran officer.

Throughout the department, officers said they felt deflated, depressed, and vexed at the brazen attack on Newman, 37, who was off duty and walking out of a city tavern when two men approached him and opened fire Saturday morning, police said.

"My officers are devastated," said Maj. Antonio Williams, commander of the Western District and a former supervisor of Newman. "This wasn't supposed to happen. I spoke to my people about it yesterday, and they just had this glazed look over most of their faces. It's a shock. Just the idea of hearing one of our own was gunned down under these circumstances is tough."

Newman's death comes during a rough stretch of violence directed at city police officers and others battling crime in one of the country's most dangerous cities.

The ambush marked the third time in eight days that a city officer was shot, a period in which five were wounded. It also follows a fire-bombing last month that killed seven members of an East Baltimore family who had refused to ignore drug dealing in their neighborhood.

Mayor Martin O'Malley said that he, too, was trying to make sense of the recent shootings, even as the city's violent crime rate continues to drop.

"We are more accustomed to reading about this sort of thing in Colombia or some other place than in the United States," the mayor said. "With each of these, we need to become more resolute and not less.. The best we can do is to send these sociopath predators to jail for as long as possible."

Despite pleas from the city police union to seek the death penalty, O'Malley is not likely to push the issue because he opposes capital punishment.

A spokeswoman for State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said prosecutors will review evidence and other factors before deciding what punishment to seek.

Three men have been charged with first-degree murder in the killing: Raymond Saunders, 22, of the 800 block of Fifth Ave., Halethorpe; and city residents Jovan J. House, 21, of the 2400 block of Dorton Court; and Anthony A. Brown, 34, of the 600 block of W. Franklin St. All were being held yesterday at the city jail and are scheduled to appear at a bail review hearing today in Baltimore District Court.

City police linked the killing to an ambush of Newman in April last year, when Saunders' half-brother participated in the shooting of Newman on a dark South Baltimore street. The half-brother, Andre A. Travers, 25, and another man were convicted of attempted murder for shooting the off-duty officer; they were sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Police said Saunders spotted Newman in a Southeast Baltimore tavern and realized that he was the officer involved in the previous shooting. He left, found two friends, and returned, police said.

It was unclear what role Saunders might have played in the shooting. Police said he gave a tape-recorded statement that implicated himself but "laid blame" for the shooting on the other suspects.

About 1:45 a.m. On Saturday, Newman left Joe's Tavern in the 1000 block of Dundalk Ave. with a girlfriend and was approached by two men who began shooting without saying a word, police said. The woman was not injured.

The men stood over Newman's body, police said, and continued to fire. Newman was hit several times, suffering three wounds to the chest. Newman, a 12-year-old veteran, died a half-hour later at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Within hours, police had arrested House, Saunders, and Brown. They found on House a Glock handgun that firearms examiners said they determined was used in the shooting.

House and Saunders are longtime friends who grew up in the city's Westport neighborhood. Both dropped out of high school and have drug-related convictions, but relatives said the young men would never have committed such a violent crime. Brown's family could not be reached.

"He's a very nice person," Catherine Williams said of House, her grandson. "He is not violent... He was really struggling hard to do the right thing."

Said Marjorie Dixon, Saunders' mother: "Through thick and thin, I taught them a lot of things. And one of them was not to kill. He would not have done this."

When Saunders was 13, his father died, and the boy never recovered, his family said. He eventually quit school and took up drug dealing, following the path of his older brothers, relatives said. But last year, he turned a corner when his girlfriend got pregnant. He got a job and seemed to be on the right track, they said.

But on Nov. 11, Ories P. Cole, 17, a close friend who is an uncle of Saunders' 3-month-old daughter, was shot and killed in South Baltimore. That death and the killings over the years of several close friends seemed to derail Saunders' efforts to reshape his life, the family said.


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Norris urges seeking death penalty in officer killings

By Del Quentin Wilber, Sun Staff

Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris said last night that prosecutors should seek the death penalty for three men charged in the execution-style killing of an off-duty detective who was ambushed early Saturday outside a city tavern. 

The three—Jovan J. House, 21, Anthony A. Brown, 34, and Raymond Saunders, 23—were denied bail yesterday during a brief hearing in District Court. All are charged with first-degree murder. 

The motive, prosecutors and police say, is clear: retaliation against Detective Thomas G. Newman for testifying against Saunders' half-brother, who was convicted of shooting the officer during a similar ambush in April last year. 

"This is the most outrageous thing I have seen in my career," Norris said in an interview. "I can't even put it into words. I can't articulate how searing this pain is for the Police Department to have an officer killed like this." 

Norris said that he plans to meet with State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio to discuss whether federal authorities should take the case. 

City prosecutors have said they need time to weigh evidence and evaluate other factors before deciding what punishment to seek. 

Prosecutors said yesterday during the bail hearing that the men clearly intended to kill the veteran officer. 

"They planned this shooting," prosecutor Barbara Richmond said. "They laid in wait, and they executed him." 

Contrary to earlier reports that Saunders saw Newman in the tavern, police sources said yesterday that Brown first noticed the off-duty detective sitting in the bar. Brown entered Joe's to buy a 40-ounce beer, police sources said. 

Detectives are investigating how Brown recognized the detective and are looking closely at whether he might have played a role in last year's shooting of Newman. Brown likely was friends with Saunders' half-brother, Andre A. Travers, 25, police sources said. 

In that shooting, which occurred on April 21 last year, Newman and several men got into an argument at a South Baltimore gas station. Worried the men might have weapons, Newman trailed their car and was shot during an ambush as he requested backup from 911 dispatchers over his cellular telephone. 

In large part because of Newman's testimony, Travers and another man were convicted of attempted second-degree murder and sentenced in June to 30 years in prison. 

After seeing Newman at the bar Friday night, Brown went to the O'Donnell Heights housing project, where he ran into Saunders and House, police sources familiar with the investigation said. 

A plan was hatched to "settle the score" with Newman for sending Travers to prison, said a police source close to the investigation. After waiting about two hours for Joe's to close, two men approached Newman as he left the tavern, police sources said. 

The men opened fire without saying a word and continued to shoot after Newman fell to the ground, police said. The detective was hit by several bullets from two guns, police said. 

Detectives strongly believe that House and Saunders were the gunmen and that Brown was the driver of the getaway car, according to police sources. 

After shooting Newman, the two gunmen turned and began firing at a security guard who was standing in the bar parking lot, the sources said. The men then jumped into the waiting sedan and fled. 

The security guard, whom detectives declined to identify, grabbed Newman's gun, jumped into a car with another witness, and chased the sedan, police said. When the men bailed out near the O'Donnell Heights housing project, the security guard fired several rounds at them but missed, police said. 

Authorities first arrested House, who implicated himself during an interrogation and told detectives about two other men he said participated in the attack, police said. 

Police arrested Saunders and Brown soon afterward. Detectives recovered a 9 mm Glock handgun from House and said firearms examiners linked it to ballistics evidence recovered from the crime scene. Examiners have not been able to link another handgun recovered in the investigation—a .32-caliber revolver - to the shooting. 

An autopsy revealed that Newman was hit by .32-caliber and 9 mm bullets. Medical examiners also recovered the .38-caliber slugs that struck Newman during last year's shooting. Surgeons had not removed those for fear of further harming the officer. 

It is unclear how long thoughts of revenge simmered, authorities said. The prosecutor who handled last year's shooting recalled some subtle words and possible threats lodged at Newman by relatives and friends of Travers. 

But, the prosecutor said, Newman was not that concerned about them. 

"I know he had some confrontations and problems," said Assistant State's Attorney Ahmet Hisim. "Tommy wasn't that worried about them." 

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

We, his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department, will not let him be forgotten. RIP Detective Thomas G. Newman, and may God bless you: For your service, "honor" the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore Police Department." #BPDNeverForget

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More details

End of Watch 23 November 2002
City, St. 1000 blocks of Dundalk Avenue.
Panel Number 27-W: 23
Cause of Death       Gunfire
District Worked Criminal Investigation Division



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