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Lawyers: Teen 'panicked' before hitting Md. officer with Jeep, did not intend to kill her


BALTIMORE (ABC7/AP) -- Two days after a 16-year-old suspect was charged with first-degree murder for allegedly accelerating a stolen Jeep at a Maryland cop and running her down, his lawyers told the media that he "panicked," and didn't intend to kill Baltimore County Officer Amy Caprio.

Dawnta Anthony Harris's mother, and attorneys Warren Brown and J. Wyndal Gordon, spoke about the incident, and the charges Harris faces as a result.

“We want to know why Officer Caprio found it necessary to draw her weapon on a 16-year-old,” Gordon said. “We want to know why she fired a shot into the front windshield.”

Brown said Harris acted out of fear when the officer drew her weapon.

"He's a kid that panicked when a gun was put in his face," he said.

Harris, a ninth-grader, had fled house arrest a week before the incident and was still wearing a court-ordered ankle bracelet when he ran down Caprio, authorities said.

Harris is being held without bail, his preliminary court hearing is set for June 15th.

Three other teenagers -- 15-year-old Darrell Jaymar Ward, 16-year-old Derrick Eugene Matthews and 17-year-old Eugene Robert Genius IV -- were also charged Wednesday as adults in Caprio's death.

Under the state's felony murder law, if someone is killed during a burglary, accomplices can be found guilty of the slaying along with the suspected killer. For this reason, authorities say the three were charged with first-degree murder, even though they were allegedly burglarizing a nearby home when she was fatally injured Monday on a suburban cul-de-sac.

Caprio, who would have been on the force four years in July, was smart, athletic and energetic, just the type of officer you want to hire, Chief Terrence Sheridan said. She and her husband had been planning a vacation this weekend to celebrate their third wedding anniversary and their upcoming birthdays, police said.

A medical examiner determined she died of trauma to the head and torso, according to Sheridan.

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