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Police storm West End bar

May 30, 1998

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer

A 2 1/2-hour standoff ended Friday when police officers fired a concussion grenade into the front of a Madison Avenue bar and captured a Hagerstown man they believed was armed with a pistol.

The siege at Dave & Pat's Bar & Grill ended at about 3 p.m. when police fired the grenade, which gives off a loud bang and a flash of light. Officers then stormed the front of the business where the man, Donald "Don-Don" Carlton Norris, 24, of 15 Emmert Road, had been sitting and drinking beer on the front steps.

Police said the standoff began after Norris, who was wanted by police, allegedly ran into the bar in the West End neighborhood at about 12:30 p.m.

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Norris was spotted earlier by Hagerstown City Police Officer Joseph Stauffer driving a car on Elizabeth Street at Burhans Boulevard, police said.

As Stauffer turned his cruiser around, Norris allegedly parked the car and took off on foot, police said.

Stauffer pursued him on foot through several yards in the Elizabeth Street and Madison Avenue area, ending at the bar, police said.

During the pursuit, Norris was observed holding something in his hand and a witness reported that he was armed with a weapon, police said.

Norris refused initial attempts by telephone to convince him to leave the bar, police said.

Two customers and the bartender who were inside when Norris walked in were allowed to leave without incident, police said.

"He said, 'Please leave.' He didn't threaten us," said one of the customers, who would not give his name because he had taken the day off from work.

Within minutes, Hagerstown City Police Sgt. Rick Johnson and Sgt. Mark Knight of the Washington County Sheriff's Department, stationed themselves on the sidewalk across from the bar and started talking with Norris.

Meanwhile, police were closing the street and ordering residents inside.

"They told us to get in the house and lock the doors," said Nancy Cromer, 21, who lives in a two-story brick home beside the bar.

Washington Street between Antietam and Elizabeth streets also was closed during the standoff, police said. Officials at nearby Winter Street Elementary School held students an extra 15 minutes because of the standoff.

Dressed in shorts, a T-shirt, and a blue baseball cap, Norris sat on the front steps of the bar drinking from bottles of beer. Several times he stood up and went inside the bar to retrieve more beer. After finishing the beers, he smashed some of the bottles on the cement steps.

At one point during the standoff, Norris slammed his left hand down on the step, cutting it on the broken glass. A stream of blood from the wounds ran down Norris' arm and dropped onto the steps.

The Hagerstown Police Department's Special Response Team arrived at the scene and fired the grenade that created a diversion and allowed officers to apprehend Norris, police said.

No weapon was recovered from Norris, said Hagerstown City Police Lt. Margaret Kline.

Norris was treated at the scene for the cuts to his hand and arm by personnel from Community Rescue Service. He was then taken to police headquarters before being turned over to the Sheriff's Department, police said.

Norris was later treated at Washington County Hospital.

Norris was wanted on three counts of failure to appear in court, one count of contempt of court and one count of theft, police said.

Norris also is wanted on charges in Pennsylvania and will be extradited there when cleared from proceedings in Maryland, according to a sheriff's deputy.

Norris was being held Friday night in Washington County Detention Center on $110,050 bond.

Norris has a lengthy criminal record dating back to at least 1991, according to Washington County court records.

He was jailed on several occasions for failure to appear at trials and on probation violations, according to court records.

He has been charged with numerous counts of theft over $300, assault and battery, malicious destruction of property, and tampering with a motor vehicle, court records state.

Maryland State Police assisted in the incident.

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