Friday, March 12, 2004

Police: 'Victim' lied in hidden gun case

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The reported robbery in Westwood last week that Cincinnati police were investigating when they put a teenager with a hidden gun in a cruiser didn't happen, police say.

A Northern Kentucky woman made up the story because she tried to buy drugs and got fake stuff, according to investigators.

Frances Brammer claimed the 17-year-old robbed her of her $50 money order after she realized she'd been fooled. Because she identified the teenager, he was arrested Saturday afternoon and put in the back seat of Officer Katrina Neal's car.

Minutes later, while on the way to juvenile detention, he fired his hidden gun seven times, trying to hit the officer, investigators say. One of those bullets hit a woman standing at the intersection of Harrison and Queen City avenues.

The arrest of Brammer, 36, of Crescent Springs on Wednesday was the latest wrinkle in an already unusual case that has the rookie officer on paid leave, the teenager in jail accused of attempted murder, the bystander recovering from a graze wound in her left shoulder and all four officers involved facing possible discipline for missing the gun.

Brammer was charged with falsification and obstruction of official business for statements she made during the subsequentinvestigation.

Court records said police based the charges on witness information and contrary statements Brammer made. She "persisted in a course of disinformation" then later recanted, Lt. Don Smith wrote. Brammer was released from jail Wednesday after posting 10 percent of two $1,000 bonds.

The teenager He now faces charges of attempted murder and is scheduled to be back in court next week for a decision on whether he will be tried as an adult.

A Plexiglas divider between the front and back seats of the cruiser stopped the teenager's bullets from hitting Neal as she drove. She jumped out and fired back once, hitting the teen in the shoulder. Neither he nor the bystander, Rhonda Shaw, 34, was seriously hurt.

Chief Tom Streicher said the officers didn't search the suspect well enough to find the gun.


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