41-E: 8
End of Watch: 19 August, 1979
Baltimore City, Maryland, P.D.

On this day in Baltimore Police History 19 August 1979, we lost our brother Police Officer William D. Albers to gunfire, based on the following:

Mental Patient is Shot Dead, Officer Hurt in Hospital Scuffle
The Sun (1837-1987); Jul 31, 1979;
pg. C1

Mental Patient is Shot Dead, Officer Hurt in Hospital Scuffle

An off duty city police officer was critically wounded and a 34-year-old mental patient was shot and killed yesterday morning during a scuffle between the two in a room adjacent to the emergency room at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

A nurse who had been monitoring the psychiatric-care room on closed-circuit television watched helplessly as the shooting episode unfolded and the sound of gunfire rang through the corridors.

Employees and patients of the East Baltimore hospital-not knowing where the shots were coming from-dove to the floor for cover as six rapid shots rang out from the small isolated room, located on the East Monument street side of the hospital.

A second nurse turned on another closed-circuit television after the shooting ended and saw the two men lying motionless on the floor, bleeding profusely.

A hospital spokeswoman said the second nurse then entered the room, picked up the empty .38-caliber service revolver belonging to the officer and began applying first aide.

Police Officer William D. Albers, 47, as shot five times. A hospital spokeswoman said he was out of surgery last night but remained in critical condition. During the long period in the operating room, he received 50 units of blood, "an unusually large amount," she said.

Willie M. Shaw, 34, of the 1700 block Thomas avenue, died at 1.22 P.M of a single gunshot wound in the left side of the chest.

Elaine Freeman, the hospital spokeswoman, said Officer Albers bad been employed at the hospital as a part-time security officer since December, 1972.

The hospital employs five city police officers on a part-time basis to provide armed security for the emergency-room area because "it is the one area of the hospital where experience has shown us to have the greatest susceptibility to violence," Mrs. Freeman said.

"We do not want our own security force to carry firearms," she added.

Hospital policy dictates that police officers unload their weapons while dealing with psychiatric patients, the spokeswoman said.

Mr. Shaw had voluntarily gone to the hospital with his wife about 2 A.M. yesterday morning seeking psychiatric help, according to Mrs. Freeman.

She said the man at that time was "very agitated" and was given oral medication to calm him.

Mr. Shaw was then placed in a special temporary psychiatric-care room, located on a corridor adjacent to the emergency room, where he slept while his wife and hospital personnel worked to seek placement for him in a "non-state" hospital for permanent psychiatric treatment. Mrs. Freeman said.

Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman, said that Mr. Shaw's mental condition did not require use of restraining devices and that he was allowed simply to go to sleep in the small room, which is equipped only with a mattress.

Hospital officials said that the room is kept free of most furniture and other items so that patients suffering from mental disorders do not have access to anything with which they could use to hurt themselves or others.

Mrs. Freeman said that after an uneventful night. Officer Albers accompanied Mrs. Shaw with a doctor and nurse into the room about 10:15 A.M. to discuss Mr. Shaw's transfer to another hospital.

When the man awoke, he was again, "quite agitated," according to Mrs. Freeman, who said that he was given an injection to try to sedate him.

Mrs. Freeman said because of his mental state at that time the four decided to leave Mr. Shaw to himself to give the medication enough time to take effect.

As they filed out of the room, however, she said Officer Albers stayed behind to close the door.

Mr. Hill said the following sequence then took place:

The Officer turned and raised his right hand as the man fired a shot that passed through his arm and into his abdomen. As Officer Albers struggled for control of the gun, the trigger apparently was pulled repeatedly and four bullets were fired into the officer’s thighs and legs.

A sixth round-the last one in the weapon-was then fired and Mr. Shaw fell backward with a wound in the chest.

Both then fell to the floor with Mr. Shaw still clutching the officer's handgun.

Officer Albers who is married and the father of three children, has been employed with the city Police Department for the past 11 years and most recently was assigned to work as the turnkey in the Eastern District lockup.

Mr. Hill said that the officer has received letters of commendation for his work while with the department.

In the seven years that the officer has been moonlighting at the hospital he has been averaging two eight-hour shifts a week - apparently using his off days from the department for his part-time work.

Police officers are allowed to moonlight 20 hours a week on certain jobs as long as they-obtain permission from police officials before the employment.

Those at the hospital who work along with Officer Albers described him yesterday as “easy going,” and “good-tempered.”


City Policeman Shot by Patient at Hopkins Dies
The Sun (1837-1987); Aug 20, 1979;
pg. C1

City Policeman Shot by Patient at Hopkins Dies

William D. Albers, a Baltimore city police officer since 1968, died yesterday atthe Johns Hopkins Hospital from gunshot wounds he received July 30 when, while working off duty, he struggled to subdue a mental patient at the hospital.

Officer Albers, 47, was hit in the abdomen, arm and legs by five bullets during the struggle with the patient for control of the policeman's .38-caliber service revolver the man seized the gun from Officer Albers, who bad accompanied hospital staff members into the patient's room.

The patient, Willie M. Shaw, 34, of the 1700 block Thomas avenue, was killed when he was bit in the left chest by a sixth bullet.

Officer Albers, who was a turnkey at the Eastern police district, was one of five city police officers working part-time as security officers in the emergency room area at Hopkins. He had worked at the hospital since 1972, police officials said.

The policeman was assisting hospital personnel in working with Mr. Shaw, who had come to the hospital voluntarily seeking treatment, hospital spokesmen said at the time.

Mr. Shaw came to the hospital about 2 A.M. on 30 July, and was placed in a temporary psychiatric-care room adjacent to the emergency room while his wife and hospital personnel sought placement and treatment for him in a "non-state" hospital.

Officer Albers accompanied Mrs. Shaw, a doctor and a nurse to Mr. Shaw's room at about 10:15 A.M. to discuss the transfer when the man awoke, became "very agitated" and was sedated, hospital personnel reported.

As the others left the room to allow the sedative to take effect, Officer Albers remained behind placing himself between everyone and the patient, as he closed the door. When he turned to leave, Mr. Shaw leapt from his bed, ripped the policeman's revolver from its holster and began firing it at the officer. Firing shots that would pass through Officer Albers’ arm and lodge in his abdomen, hospital officials said.

As the two men struggled for control of the weapon, additional shots were fired, striking Officer Albers in his thighs and legs, The Officer was able to turn the gun in the suspect’s direction as it went off again striking the suspect (Shaw) this time in the chest.

Hospital personnel witnessed the struggle on a closed-circuit television that is set up to monitor the psychiatric care rooms.

A hospital spokesmen said yesterday, Officer Albers had been in critical condition at the hospital since the shooting, but his condition has been erratic-sometimes improving, and at other times worsening.

His condition began to deteriorate Saturday evening, and hospital officials summoned his family to be by his side. Family members remained at the hospital until yesterday, but were not at his bedside 1 PM when he died, hospital officials said.

Officer Albers lived with his wife, Cynthia Anne in the 100 block North Decker Avenue, near Patterson Park. He was the father of three children.

After the death of Mr. Shaw, and the shooting of Officer Albers, Hopkins officials said that they had called for the assistance of two unarmed guards when Mrs. Shaw and the hospital personnel arrived at the patient's room and found him to be uncooperative.

But Officer Albers, armed because he was an off-duty city policeman, voluntarily responded in an effort to help, they said.

One day after the incident hospital officials moved to prevent a recurrence by ruling that police officers who are customarily armed when off duty, would be used in psychiatric wards only in case of “life-threatening" situations.

The hospital previously had urged off-duty officers to empty their weapons before responding to a call involving a psychiatric patient.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

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More details

Name Description
End of Watch August 19, 1979
City, St. Baltimore City, Maryland, P.D.
Panel Number 41-E: 8
Cause of Death Gunfire
Weapon - Officer's Handgun
District Worked Southeastern

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