12/23/2005

Md.: Area police denied jobs to man charged in 2 killings

GUS G. SENTEMENTES AND LYNN ANDERSON, SUN REPORTERS

Copyright 2005 The Baltimore Sun Company 

Eugene Victor Perry Jr., a police officer with a state agency who is accused of fatally shooting two Baltimore police officers Wednesday, had as recently as last week asked to join the city force.

He had twice before been turned down by the city police and was rejected earlier this year by Baltimore County police before landing a police job with the Department of General Services, guarding state facilities in Annapolis. On Wednesday, authorities say, Perry tested his shooting skills at a suburban police firing range.

Hours later, police say, he went to a Pikesville townhouse and used his police-issued weapon to kill the officers. One was his former fiancee, the other a man she had been dating.

Perry is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Court documents filed early yesterday provided new details of the events leading to the officers' deaths, including that Perry "forced his way into" the house and drew a handgun from a holster on his right hip as he climbed a flight of stairs toward the second-floor room of one of the victims.

And police, a day after declining to offer a specific motive for the shooting, confirmed that Perry and one of the victims had been engaged and said that the violence appeared to have been prompted by a romantic relationship gone sour.

"Apparently, the shooting was the result of his anger at the breakup," said Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey.

Perry, 33, of Baltimore was charged in the deaths of Adam Vazquez, 26, and Leslie A. Holliday, 34. Both were officers at the city police Northwestern District. Holliday had recently been dating Vazquez, according to Holliday's mother.

Perry was being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center after waiving his right to appear at a hearing in District Court yesterday.

He had been hired in April as a police officer with the Maryland Department of General Services. The department issued a statement yesterday saying that he had been assigned to its Annapolis detachment, and that he has been suspended without pay. The department provided no further details on Perry, citing state personnel laws.

According to a spokeswoman for the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, Perry had worked as a correctional officer at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center from 1995 to 2003 - a period that coincides with a stretch when Holliday worked there. Holliday began working at the center in 2001 and left in July 2004, said the spokeswoman, Barbara Cooper. Holliday worked as an arrest booking officer and processed detainees brought to the center by police, Cooper said.

Holliday, who had three children, was divorced five years ago and Perry was divorced two years ago, court records show.

Perry worked at one point for the Housing Authority police in Baltimore, according to a city law enforcement source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. When that agency was disbanded and merged with the city force last year, housing officers who wanted to transfer to the Police Department had to undergo background checks and evaluations. Perry requested to join the department but was not hired, the source said. Several years ago, he had previously applied to the city Police Department.

He worked as a correctional officer at the Baltimore City Detention Center from February 2005 to April, when he resigned and went to work for the Department of General Services police force. He was hired April 27.

But as recently as Dec. 12, Perry wrote a letter to the city Police Department and asked the agency to reconsider his application, a city police spokesman said. But the department hadn't decided on his request, the spokesman said.

Perry applied to join the Baltimore County police force in February but was not accepted, said Toohey, that department's spokesman. He said the department would not give a reason for rejecting the application.

On Wednesday, Perry went to the shooting range at a police training facility in Sykesville as part of the process that requires police officers to periodically renew their certification to carry a police-issued gun, police said.

Shortly after noon that day, a man knocked on the door of Vazquez's townhouse in the 3900 block of M'Ladies Court, identified himself as Eugene and asked to speak with Vazquez, according to charging documents. The person who answered the door said Vazquez was upstairs sleeping and closed the door, but the man then forced his way into the house and headed upstairs, according to the court documents.

Police have said another adult couple and a young child were at the house. Witnesses heard several shots and ran, and Perry left the house a short time later, carrying a gun, according to court documents.

The two city police officers were found dead in the home with multiple gunshot wounds, police said. Three tires on Holliday's car, which was parked nearby, had been deflated, and a note was left on the seat, Toohey said. He would not reveal its contents.

Perry then went to his brother's workplace, and his brother persuaded him to surrender to authorities, police said yesterday. Perry's car was found in Cherry Hill, and his service weapon was in the car, police said.

Toohey said that no ballistic tests had been conducted but that investigators "were reasonably confident" that the handgun was used in the shooting. He would not describe the weapon further.

The spokesman would not say whether gunshot residue tests had been conducted on the suspect but added that because Perry had been shooting earlier in the day any such tests would not yield a meaningful conclusion.

Perry turned himself in at the county police Woodlawn Precinct about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday. His brother, Antone Hicks, told desk officers that Perry had shot some police officers, according to the charging documents.

A neighbor said Perry has lived in his townhouse, off Hillen Road in Northeast Baltimore, for about three years.

Clarence Davis, 58, who lives two houses down from Perry, described Perry as a friendly man who pitched in with snow shoveling, lawn mowing and leaf raking.

Davis said he thought well enough of Perry to act as a reference for him twice, including when he applied for a job at the city Housing Authority police force. He said he had seen no change in Perry's mood or actions recently.

"I'm praying for him," Davis said.

Vazquez and Holliday worked the midnight shift at the Northwestern District.

Vazquez was a 4 1/2 -year veteran of the city force. Holliday had been with the department for about a year and a half and was nearing the end of her probationary period of employment, police said.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com lynn.anderson@baltsun.com 
 
December 23, 2005

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