Robert Saslaw said he never hesitated, "I knew what I was doing." he said. "There was a man standing there holding a gun to my friend's head. I had to do something."
Saslaw, did. He ran up behind the man who had pulled a gun on Sgt. Joseph G. Marquis Jr. of the Blandenburg city police and pushed him away from Marquis.
According to police and Saslaw, the man spun and fired one shot at Saslaw with his .38 caliber revolver. A spilt second later Maquis fired one round from his shotgun and killed the man, later identified as Jerry B. Bieganowski, 38, of 4209 Newton St. in Colmar Manor.
"All I remember is pushing the guy away from Joe," Saslaw, a local restaurant manager said. "Somehow the guy and I got turned so he was facing me. He aimed and I don't know what happened next how he managed to miss me from five feet away.
"But the next thing I was on the ground and Joe had fired. He went down on his back. Me and Joe just stared at each other and asked, "You okay?"
The drama, which ended just before 2:30 a.m. yesterday when Marquis shot Bleganowski started a few moments before that. Bladensburg Police Chief Lyon J. Chapman said, when a silent alarm for the Golden Cue Pool Hal1 4821 Annapolis Rd., went off in the Bladensburg police station.
Marquis, who had been talking to Saslaw in front of the nightclub Saslaw manages - the Crossroads Club at 4103 Baltimore Ave. - headed for the pool hall. Three Bladensburg city policeman followed him to the scene.
Police later learned that the automatic alarm had been tripped when three employes who had just finished closing went back inside for something they had forgotten.
But neither Marquis nor Saslaw knew that when the burglar alarm call went out at 2:20 a.m. Marquis drove to the scene. Saslaw, who had already closed up his club, decided to follow Marquis, since the pool hall was on his way home.
Upon arriving, Saslaw remained in his van while Marquis took cover behind his open car door and the other three policemen went to enter the other sides of the building. Then using a bull horn, Marquis began ordering the people out of the building.
"Just when the first person came out, this guy (Bieganowski) pulled up, got out of his car, walked up behind Joe and stuck a gun in his ear," Saslaw remembered.
"I didn't think about the gun or anything like tat," Saslaw, 31, said, "I've worked in a bar for 10 years and I've been in every situation you can think of. All I knew was a friend and a policeman was in trouble, I went to help."
Chapman said police were still investigating yesterday to determine why Bleganowski rushed Marquis, 31, a seven-year veteran of the force who was in uniform at the time.
Bieganowski's boss, bob Ketner, owner of Bladensburg Mobil Service at 5803 Annapolis Rd. said yesterday he thought his employe might have been confused.
Ketner said that Bieganowski had worked for him for three years and worked as night manager from 3 p.m. until midnight daily. He said he had talked to Bieganowski at about 11 p.m. and "he sounded fine."
Ketner said that Bieganowski ha*d started carrying a gun about a month ago after being held up one night at the station. "I asked him not to wear it at work and he didn't have it yesterday, so I guess he must have had it in his car," Ketner said.
No one else was injured during the incident. The three pool hall employes came out of the building after the shooting and explained their mistake to police.
Bieganowski's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore where Dr. Ann Dickson ran tests yesterday afternoon to try and determine whether Bieganowski had been intoxicated at the time of the incident. Dickson said she would know the results of her tests tomorrow.
Marquis was placed on routine administrative leave with pay immediately after the shooting. Chapman said his preliminary investigation indicated that Marquis had been justified in firing and he expected him back at work on Friday.