A 28-year-old Southwest Washington man who was killed by police Saturday morning after he allegedly shot and wounded two D.C. police officers was a parolee who had an extensive criminal record including nine convictions for such offenses as assaulting a police officer, according to corrections officials and court records.
Wesley Scott Gaskins, who lived in the Wingate East apartment complex at 74 Galveston St. SW, had been in and out of prison since 1976 for the offenses, which included burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, assault with intent to rob while armed, possession of heroin and carrying a pistol without a license, according to D.C. Superior Court records.
Police sources said a relative of Gaskins told them that since he had been paroled in August he had said he would kill a police officer before he would go back to prison. At the time of his death, Gaskins was a fugitive on an arrest warrant for a recent parole violation, but police and corrections officials were unable yesterday to provide details about the warrant.
Gaskins was killed by police after an early-morning car chase that began when he was stopped at a drunk-driving checkpoint on Independence Avenue SE, south of RFK Stadium, police said. Gaskins fled, crashed into a traffic light, and shot and wounded two District officers before hiding in a basement stairwell of a day care center on Ames Street NE.
The two wounded officers were identified as Sgt. Thomas M. Smith, 42, and Officer David Sarate, 39. Smith is in fair condition at D.C. General Hospital with a gunshot wound in his shoulder; Sarate had a gunshot wound in his right side and was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon.
Gaskins repeatedly refused to surrender during 3 1/2 hours of negotiations with police and he was shot and killed after he came out of the building shooting about 5 a.m. About 25 to 30 packets of crack, a potent derivative of cocaine, were found in his pocket, and a .38-caliber, long-barrel revolver was found near his body, police said.
Gaskins was convicted three years ago of assaulting a police officer after he was stopped by three officers because his car did not have a brake light or turn signals. When the officers asked Gaskins if he had drugs inside the trunk, Gaskins apparently started to run away and a fight broke out.
One of the three officers suffered a hip injury when Gaskins struck her and threw her to the ground, and another officer hurt his wrist in the struggle, according to court records.
In that incident, Gaskins was convicted of assaulting a police officer and carrying a pistol without a license. He served about three years at Lorton Reformatory.
Previously, Gaskins served more than two years in prison after his first conviction of assault with a deadly weapon in 1976, corrections officials said.
Two years later, he was convicted on armed robbery and assault charges and served two additional years, corrections officials said.
Gaskins was convicted of possessing heroin in 1982, but it was unclear whether he served any prison time for that charge.