Information from the “Officer Jamie A. Roussey Memorial Web Page” 22 year-old Police Officer Jamie Roussey, who had been on the job slightly more than a year, died last night of injuries he sustained when his Jeep Cherokee patrol vehicle collided with a car at a West Baltimore intersection. Officer Roussey was responding to help an officer involved in a foot pursuit. As he traveled northbound in the first block of N. Fulton Ave, he collided with a Dodge Neon at the 1700 block of W. Fayette St. The driver’s side of the Jeep hit a utility pole. Officer Roussey was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
On this day in Baltimore Police History 2000 we lost our brother Police Officer Jamie Allen Roussey - Officer Roussey died from injuries he sustained when his Jeep Cherokee patrol vehicle collided with a car at an intersection in West Baltimore. Jamie was responding to help an officer involved in a foot pursuit. As he traveled northbound in the unit block of N. Fulton Ave, he collided with a Dodge Neon at the 1700 block of W. Fayette St. The driver’s side of the Jeep hit a utility pole. Officer Roussey was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
A Career Inseparable from Family
Officer Killed in Crash had Father, Brother, 2 Relatives on Force
March 10, 2000|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF
Jamie A. Roussey had one career and one family. The two were indistinguishable.
His father, brother, uncle and cousin doubled as colleagues in the Baltimore Police Department, a proud lineage that makes the Roussey name synonymous with law enforcement for virtually anyone who wears a badge in the city.
The close ties were evident Wednesday, when Roussey sped to help three fellow officers and died when his cruiser collided with another car in West Baltimore. His cousin, Seth Roussey, was the first officer on the scene.
"That's a very proud police family," said Mayor Martin O'Malley, who has Roussey's uncle, Officer Vincent Roussey, on his security detail. "He was a young, bright, dedicated kid who has the toughest job in this great city."
O'Malley ordered flags flown at half-staff until Monday's funeral at the family church in Catonsville. Roussey, 22, is the third officer in two years to die in the line of duty and the 100th since the department was formed in 1870.
He graduated from the police academy four months ago. He lived with his motherand father, Frederick, a police sergeant, who often brought his young son to work in the Western District.
"He knew he was going to be a Baltimore City police officer," said Rob Tomback, Roussey's principal at Catonsville High School. "There was no doubt. He had his sights set on that, and that is what he achieved."
Grief-stricken family members did not make public statements yesterday but indicated they might meet with reporters today. Two years ago, Roussey's parents took out a full-page ad in his high school yearbook to showcase their son's achievements.
"Your sparkling personality and sense of humor have brightened many days," they wrote under a photo spread showing Roussey in his football uniform, standing beside his pickup truck and smiling as a baby.
"Nothing is beyond your reach," they added. "We love you and we'll always be there to support you."
Roussey was killed as he sped through an intersection at North Fulton Avenue and West Fayette Street about 5: 45 p.m. Wednesday. He was trying to reach officers running after a man suspected of possessing marijuana. The suspect was later arrested.
A Dodge Neon broadsided the passenger side of the police Jeep, sending it hurtling into a utility pole and crushing the driver's side of the vehicle.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation. Maj. Michael Bass, a police spokesman, said witnesses reported that Roussey had his emergency lights and siren activated, but that he may have gone through a red light.
Police vehicles are allowed to go through red lights only after coming to a complete stop, to make sure the intersection is clear of traffic. Bass said investigators have not determined whether that was done in this case.
The driver and passenger of the Neon have not been charged or cited in connection with the crash. But police said they found a Glock 9 mm gun in the Neon's trunk and suspected drug paraphernalia with a trace amount of suspected marijuana.
Calvin Thompson Jr., 20, of the 4100 block of Mountwood Road, and Robert Scott, 28, of the 100 block of Palormo Ave., were charged with handgun and drug possession and were being held in the Central Booking and Intake Center last night.
Accidents involving police cars occur frequently, though the numbers have declined since 1995, when 554 were reported. That year, 186 were listed as the officer's fault. In 1998 -- the most recent year numbers are available -- 255 departmental accidents occurred, with 95 listed as the officer's fault.
Officer Harold A. Carey was killed in 1998 when his cruiser collided with another patrol car -- both speeding to the same emergency. One went through a red light.
Roussey's death hit the Western District station hard. Though new to the police force, the young officer was well-liked. He wanted to patrol the Western, in one of the city's toughest neighborhoods, and teased his cousin, Seth, assigned to the more sedate Southern, officers there said.
"My learning experiences will be a lot greater than yours," he told his cousin, recalled Sgt. Andre O. Monroe. "He used to always come up to me, and he used to tell me how excited he was to come into the Western District."
The mood was somber during yesterday's roll call for Roussey's 4 p.m. to midnight shift. Lt. John Mack told officers that Roussey would want them to continue to make the city safer.
Business as usual was easier said than done yesterday. "Behind this blue uniform, there are definitely hurt souls," Mack said.
Roussey grew up in Catonsville, across the street from the high school -- a center of neighborhood activity in the close-knit community. The response to a call to the school and a request for someone who knows the Rousseys tells how well the name is known there.
"That would be everybody," said an administrator.
In high school, Roussey excelled as a student and participated in lacrosse, football and wrestling. His principal, Tomback, remembers the 6-foot-2, 215-pound lineman motivating his teammates to rally for a come-from-behind victory that at "one point just seemed hopeless."
The five active-duty Rousseys made up one of the largest family contingents in the Police Department.
His father, Sgt. Frederick Roussey, is assigned to the sex offense unit. His brother, Frederick Roussey Jr., patrols the Southern District, along with his cousin, Seth. His uncle, Vincent, is a member of the mayor's security detail.
"It's one of those names that is synonymous with law enforcement in Baltimore City," said Officer Gary McLhinney, the police union president. Added Bass: "Their friends are in the hundreds in this agency."
Lt. Susan Young has known Roussey since he was 10. Not only is she a family friend -- she was at their home Wednesday night to help them grieve -- she helped train the young man at the academy.
"He had the potential to be one of the best," Young said. Unlike his father, who was outgoing, she said Roussey was "one of those quiet ones that maybe you didn't think was listening, but if you asked him a question, he had the answer."
Young said she kept her friendship with Young a secret at the academy, to avoid any appearance of favoritism. But they had their own hidden game during inspections, where Roussey tried to be serious.
"I would crack a smile, give him a wink, and he couldn't keep a straight face," Young said. "I purposely did it to him, just to make him laugh."
At his Nov. 5 graduation, Roussey joined 46 of the department's newest officers at the War Memorial Building, where they heard a top police commander tell them, "The quality of life on the streets is still rotten," and it was their job to make it better.
Roussey's friends said he took those words to heart. His father had worked the drug-torn streets of the Western District, and that was where he wanted to be.
McLhinney described Roussey's father, whom he spoke to Wednesday night, as proud but devastated.
"Most fathers want their sons to follow in their footsteps," the union president said. "He was such a young guy who really wanted to make a difference."
Sun staff writer Stacey Hirsh contributed to this article.
Viewings for Officer Jamie A. Roussey will be held at Witzke Funeral Home, 1630 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday.
The funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, St. Agnes Lane and Baltimore National Pike. Interment will follow at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.
The family has set up the Jamie A. Roussey Scholarship Fund. Donations can be sent to Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 3, 3920 Buena Vista Ave., Baltimore 21211.
We his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department will not let him be forgotten. God Bless and Rest in Peace as "His service "Honored" the City of Baltimore and the Police Department"
Officer Killed in Collision went Through Red Light
Siren, lights were on
Police say other driver might be charged
March 11, 2000|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF
Police investigating Wednesday's car accident that claimed the life of a Baltimore police officer have determined that the officer went through a red light, a department spokesman said yesterday.
But authorities said they are considering charging the 20-year-old driver of the Dodge Neon involved in the crash with some type of traffic offense, possibly failing to yield to an emergency vehicle or a more serious charge related to the fatality.
Maj. Michael Bass, the spokesman, said a decision will be made in a week to 10 days, after results of the investigation are presented to the city state's attorney's office and prosecutors review the case.
Police officials were busy yesterday planning Monday's funeral for Officer Jamie A. Roussey, 22, who was killed four months after graduating from the police academy while trying to reach three fellow officers chasing a drug suspect.
The officer's family -- which includes a father, brother, cousin and uncle who are on the city force -- have not made any public comments. Relatives would not comment when reached at their home yesterday. The funeral is at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Catonsville.
Flags in the city have been ordered to fly at half-staff and a black mourning cloth has been draped over the entrance to the Western District police station, where Roussey had been assigned.
100th to die on duty
He was the 100th Baltimore police officer to die in the line of duty since the department was formed in 1870, the second in two years to be killed in a car accident. Officer Harold A. Carey died in 1998 when his cruiser collided with another squad car on North Howard Street.
The accident that claimed Roussey's life occurred about 5: 45 p.m. The officer was traveling north on Fulton Avenue in a marked Jeep Cherokee when he was broadsided by the Neon, whose driver was westbound on Fayette Street.
Roussey was speeding to help three colleagues -- Officers Robert Peregoy, Sean Miller and Jeff Archamault -- who were chasing a man suspected of holding marijuana several blocks away at Payson and Penrose streets.
Bass said yesterday that investigators have confirmed accounts from several witnesses that the driver of the Neon had the green light and that Roussey went through a red light. The spokesman said the officer's emergency lights and siren were on.
Officers are required to come to a full stop at every stop sign and red light, even when responding to emergency calls, to make sure the intersection is clear, before they proceed. Bass said investigators have not determined whether that was done in this case.
The law also requires that civilian drivers yield to emergency vehicles. The spokesman would not comment on what specific charges are being considered, but he did say: "Obviously, because it is a fatal accident, there may be charges addressing that aspect."
The driver of the Neon has been identified as Calvin A. Thompson Jr., 20, of the 4100 block of Mountwood Road in West Baltimore. Police said that Roland J. Scott, 28, of the 100 block of Palormo Ave. in West Baltimore was in the front passenger seat.
Handgun, drug charges filed
Both were treated for minor injuries and then charged with gun and drug possession; police said they found a 9 mm Glock handgun and a pipe with suspected marijuana residue in the car.
Thompson and Scott have been released on $5,000 bail each and have a court hearing set for next month. Neither could be reached for comment yesterday.
Thompson's father, Calvin A. Thompson Sr., 49, said he "feel[s] for the family of the officer. It's a tragedy. A man lost his life." He said he has not talked to his son about the crash.
Warren A. Brown, a criminal defense attorney, said prosecutors would have to show that the driver of the Neon "had a reckless disregard for human life" to bring an auto manslaughter case -- which he said would be difficult given the circumstances of this case.
"It's a tragedy, but nothing criminal," he said.
Stories illustrate officer's brief, bright police career
Family, friends recall Roussey's love of job, kindness to local kids
March 14, 2000|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF
Jamie Roussey had been a police officer only four months before he was killed rushing to help a colleague. To those who knew the 22-year-old, it seemed he had worked the streets a lifetime.
He had built a rapport with children on troubled streets, playing the role of tooth fairy to gap-toothed youngsters. He volunteered to work when he should have been off -- like Wednesday, when he was killed in a car crash.
At yesterday's funeral Mass at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Catonsville, 500 mourners packed pews and lined aisles to hear story after story that accumulated during Roussey's brief career.
"Even if we knew he was going to be killed in the line of duty, we wouldn't have lifted a finger to stop him," said the fallen officer's father, Sgt. Frederick Roussey, also a member of Baltimore's police force.
In addition to his father, Roussey's uncle Vincent; his brother Frederick Jr.; and his cousin Seth are active city officers -- making the name one of the most recognizable on the 3,200-member department.
Roussey was killed while speeding to help three colleagues who were chasing a drug suspect in West Baltimore. The marked Jeep Cherokee he was driving was broadsided by a car at North Fulton Avenue and West Fayette Street.
The 100th city officer to die in the line of duty since 1870, Roussey had always wanted to be a police officer. His father took him to the station when he was age 2, and he grew up wanting to work at Western District.
In a rousing, tearful eulogy, the senior Roussey praised his son as a casualty of battle -- "a soldier in the war on crime. Do not allow the criminals to win. If we let them divide us or break our spirit, it means Jamie died for nothing."
The young Roussey embraced the family credo -- that life matters "because I was important to a life of a child." Moments before he sped to help his fellow officers, he had been passing out bags of chips to children.
"He wasn't cynical about this job," said Mayor Martin O'Malley. "There was nothing he wanted to do other than be a police officer in this city. And he insisted on going to the Western District, one of the most violent in our city, one that takes enormously hard work and compassion."
The mayor turned to Roussey's relatives. "No family," he said, "will ever pay a higher price to make the city a safer place. Our city owes your family a debt we will never be able to repay."
Roussey, a 1997 Catonsville High School graduate, had been a standout in football, wrestling and lacrosse, and was awarded the Catonsville Gold Award for participating in three sports while maintaining a B average.
He completed police academy training in November and told anyone who would listen that he wanted to be a sergeant by age 25 and a lieutenant by 30.
Monsignor Victor Galeone acknowledged the grief and anger felt at Roussey's death. "If Jamie had only been off that night like he was supposed to. If only Jamie had not responded to the Signal 13, an officer's call for distress. If only Jamie had gone through that intersection three seconds earlier. If only. If only."
Galeone said he wished he had known Roussey better than the quick handshakes at the end of Sunday Mass -- about how close Roussey was to his family, about the pickup truck he bought and cherished, about the children he helped on inner-city streets.
The priest said his most touching moment of the past several days was Friday, during an evening viewing, when a brother carefully arranged rosary beads in Roussey's hands, and another put a can of Guinness beer, his favorite, in the other.
The theme of Easter and resurrection echoed through the church -- the Gospel reading was of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Galeone said Roussey did not "wear his religion around his neck, like I do, but where it is most important, down in his heart."
He recounted Roussey leaving work one day and spying a boy missing his front tooth:
"Hey, little fella," Roussey called out, "did the tooth fairy give you any money?" The child answered no. "Of course not," the officer answered. "The tooth fairy gave me the money and said to give it to you."
Roussey handed the child a dollar bill.
Before he knew it, another kid said, "My tooth is missing." And another
He came home and said, "Pop, before I got out of there, I was out 10 bucks."
Midway through the Mass, a former girlfriend and a high school friend walked to the casket -- draped in a white resurrection cloth -- and placed Roussey's cap and badge on top -- a tribute that remained in place through the service.
O'Malley, on behalf of the family, read a poem by an unknown author called "The Final Inspection," about a police officer facing God at judgment time. The officer is forced to acknowledge that he's missed Mass and not always turned the other cheek.
"No, Lord, I'll be straight; Those of us carry a badge; Can't always be a Saint."
The fallen officer tells God of his daily routine -- that he never took a penny that wasn't his and he "never passed a cry for help."
God answers: "Step forward now Policeman; You've borne your burden well; Come walk a beat on Heaven's streets; You've done your time in hell."
In the spirit of fallen officer, a family laces up to run
By Marcia Ames
Sixteen-year-old David Roussey filled some big shoes last week for the final stretch of a police memorial run to Washington, D.C. - his brother Jamie's size 11 Nikes.
"I told him, 'Tie 'em tight, 'cause they're big,'" said their father, Lt. Frederick Roussey of the Baltimore City police.
David, a Catonsville High School junior who had never run more than eight miles at a time, ran 17 miles in his own size 9-1/2 shoes the first day, May 12, and 16 miles the next. On May 14, he donned Jamie's Nikes and some extra socks to complete the final 10-mile leg.
After reaching the finish line on time at noon, David walked a few yards to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, where a gray marble wall is engraved with thousands of names. Knowing exactly where to find Jamie's name, he touched it, and wept.
Jamie Allen Roussey died on a Wednesday three years ago - March 8, 2000 - while on duty as a Baltimore police officer. His police jeep was broadsided at an intersection by another vehicle as he rushed to help fellow officers in pursuit of a suspect.
Barely 22 years old, Roussey had graduated from the police academy exactly four months earlier in the top 5 percent of his class. He had worn the Nikes during 1999's Law Enforcement Memorial Run, but did not live to see the 2000 event.
Sitting in the family's Catonsville home on Wednesday afternoon, David held Jamie's shoes and wept again, recalling the older brother who "was always happy, always caring."
His sister Laura, a 15-year-old CHS freshman who completed a five-mile segment last week in Baltimore, smiled as she talked about Jamie.
"He would call me 'girl,' or just 'special-special,'" she said, but then fell silent, her eyes to the floor.
"I see him in everybody," said Christopher, 18, another brother, who stayed in school last week for a Comets lacrosse game. "I don't stop thinking about him."
Despite the family's loss, both brothers plan to follow Jamie's footsteps into the police academy, to serve alongside their father.
And although he approves, Frederick Roussey said he and his wife, Charlene, will never forget the sight of Jamie's lifeless body lying on a gurney at Maryland Shock Trauma, the day of the accident.
"That's the image that is burned into my brain," he said.
"But I also think of him when he was a little kid going to kindergarten, said Roussey. "He would say, 'I'm going to be a police officer one day - just like you, Dad.'"
Roussey said the Law Enforcement Memorial Run is sponsored annually during National Police Week by the Philadelphia chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), a nonprofit outreach group serving the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
The course begins in Philadelphia, and continues through Delaware and Maryland to D.C.
"It's a three-day memorial to make people aware that these guys were killed serving the public," said Roussey. "Jamie's name is on the memorial with about 16,000 other names - and this year we're adding about 149."
The full list includes seven officers from the Baltimore County Police Department: Patrolman Edward Kuznar, who died in 1969 in an automobile accident; Patrolman Charles Alan Huckeba, 1977, from gunfire; Cpl. Samuel L. Snyder, 1983, from gunfire; Patrolman Robert William Zimmerman, 1986, who was struck by a vehicle; Sgt. Bruce Allen Prothero, 2000, from gunfire; Officer John W. Stem Sr., 2000, from gunfire; and Sgt. Mark Frank Parry, who was assaulted by a vehicle in January of last year.
Laura and David's friends Rachel Pietrowiak, Alex Hook and John and Mike Filipiak ran a few miles of the total last week to honor Jamie. So did a number of Frederick's friends and the Baltimore police academy's current training class.
Frederick said that more than 60 people completed the full, 150-mile course, and hundreds more participated.
He accompanied David by van, and coordinated a videotaping of the event for use in recruiting additional participants next year.
Other major sponsors included the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police and the Philadelphia office of the FBI.
Contact Marcia Ames via e-mail at email@example.com.
"He would say, 'I'm going to be a police officer one day _ just like you, Dad.'"
Frederick Roussey, Baltimore City police lieutenant
|End of Watch||8 March, 2000|
|City, St.||1700 block of W. Fayette St.|
|Panel Number||7-W: 22|
|Cause of Death||Auto Accident|
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