- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 7, 2004


A paralyzed police officer and a prosecutor re-enacted the night the officer was shot, as a hushed courtroom looked on yesterday.

Part of the automobile, a Chrysler, that had been involved in the crime was brought into Montgomery County Circuit Court, where Terrence Green, 19, is on trial for attempted murder. State’s Attorney Douglas F. Gansler climbed into the passenger seat to play the role of gunman, as county police Officer Kyle Olinger approached in his wheelchair.

Mr. Gansler held the gun that authorities said was used to shoot Officer Olinger during a traffic stop in Silver Spring on Aug. 13, 2003. They demonstrated the tussle, with Mr. Gansler pulling Officer Olinger forward and pointing the gun at the officer’s neck.

Officer Olinger testified about why he did not shoot Mr. Green.

“I thought it would look like an execution. I was shooting a kid bent over the front seat, and I hesitated,” Officer Olinger, 38, told the court. “I didn’t want to shoot him. To me he was a young kid. I didn’t want to kill anybody.”

Mr. Green took copious notes but avoided looking at Officer Olinger during the officer’s afternoon on the witness stand.

Officer Olinger testified that when he initially stopped the Chrysler, only the driver was inside. The driver did not have a license, but Officer Olinger let him go. He circled the block and spotted the car again — this time with three persons inside and a different driver. The Chrysler made a U-turn and hit a parked car, at which point Officer Olinger pulled it over.

He ordered the driver out for questioning and noticed movements of the front-seat passenger, identified as Mr. Green. Officer Olinger said he went to that side of the car, asked Mr. Green for identification, then saw a gun on the floor.

“I started yelling for everyone to put their hands up,” Officer Olinger said, adding that Mr. Green failed to fully comply. Officer Olinger pulled his gun and the struggle began — ending with the officer shot in the neck.

“I was in surgery for nine hours for a gunshot wound to the throat,” Officer Olinger testified. “The bullet is lodged in my spinal column. I’m told that I’ll never walk again, and I’m paralyzed from the chest down.”

Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, about two dozen of his officers, members of Officer Olinger’s family and County Executive Douglas M. Duncan were among those in the packed courtroom.

“The same courage he displayed that night he displayed on the stand today,” Chief Manger said outside court.

Mr. Green’s mother was in court for part of the day but was absent during Officer Olinger’s testimony.

After a brief cross-examination of Officer Olinger by Mr. Green’s attorney, prosecutors rested their case. The defense is expected to begin its case today.

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