A 21-year-old District of Columbia man was charged yesterday with assault with intent to murder in connection with the Jan. 5 shooting of Donald P. Bennett, an off-duty D.C. police detective, in front of Bennett's Annapolis home.
Police identified the suspect as Charles Manning Davenport Jr., who they said lived with his mother in the 1900 block of Spruce Drive NW in the fashionable North Portal Estates neighborhood at the District's northern tip.
Bennett, 32, was ambushed by a man with a shotgun in front of his home as he was preparing to drive to work. He suffered wounds in the lower abdomen, hips, legs and right hand. His supervisor, Lt. Robert Drescher, said yesterday that Bennett's condition was stable, adding, "He's coming around, but still hurting."
Davenport, who police said is unemployed, was extradited to Maryland following a bond hearing in D.C. Superior Court yesterday. Police said Davenport had been arrested Friday night at his father's apartment on Taylor Street NE after D.C. officers spotted him driving a car that had been reported stolen in Montgomery County.
During questioning after Davenport's arrest, according to Drescher, "information was developed linking him with the shooting of Bennett." Davenport was arraigned yesterday on two fugitive warrants, one from Montgomery County and one from Annapolis. He was sent to Annapolis first because of the seriousness of the assault charge, Drescher said.
Police said yesterday that Bennett, a 12-year veteran assigned to the 4th District's auto theft squad, had been investigating what appeared to be an auto theft ring at the time of his shooting. They declined comment on the status of that investigation.
Neither of Davenport's parents, whom police said were separated, could be reached for comment yesterday.
According to police reports, Bennett was climbing into his Dodge pickup truck shortly before 6 a.m. on Jan. 5 when he was shot and never saw his attacker. According to his wife, Bennett thought his own gun had discharged in his belt.
"He was on his knees, yelling for help," Mrs. Bennett was quoted as saying after the shooting. "He kept saying, 'My gun went off.' "
Just after he was wounded, Bennett removed his revolver and was checking its chamber to determine if it had fired, then collapsed in his driveway, police said.
Police said they later received reports that Bennett had been attacked by someone who sped away in a large car. He was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and listed in critical condition.
Mrs. Bennett said that the day her husband was shot he kept telling her how sorry he was that the incident occured in front of their home, where they had moved to protect the family from the dangers of police work.