Members of the warrant apprehension task force were looking for a vehicle and suspect wanted in a June 19 homicide in Baltimore and spotted them in the parking lot of Security Square Mall in Woodlawn, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a news conference.
When officers tried to approach the vehicle, the suspect got out and fired, striking two detectives, he said. Officers returned fire, striking the suspect, a 32-year-old man, Harrison said. The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.
The wounded detectives were taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s shock trauma unit, where the physician-in-chief, Thomas Scalea, said “both were seriously ill when they arrived.”
“We were able to get them stabilized,” he said. “Both will require some therapy. … We expect both of them to survive.”
Mayor Brandon Scott said he’s thankful the officers were alert and upbeat and wished them a speedy recovery. Building a safer city requires holding violent offenders accountable and that’s what the officers were doing Tuesday, he said.
“The WATF will continue to aggressively track down those who commit violence on our streets and they will continue to send a clear message as they do each and every day, that we will not allow folks to think they’re going to get away with harming people on the streets of Baltimore,” Scott said.
It was not immediately clear if the detectives wore body cameras at the time of the shooting.
“What we saw today was exactly what officers go through; these are the most dangerous situations imaginable, but they did their jobs with bravery, with courage and with professionalism,” Harrison added.
The wounded officers are deputized U.S. marshals, part of Baltimore’s Warrant Apprehension Task Force, which handles high-risk warrants.
A large section of the Baltimore County mall parking lot was cordoned off with crime tape as officers collected evidence surrounding a pickup truck, which had bullet holes in the driver’s side window and windshield. Some two dozen police officers, paramedics, and other officials gathered at the entrance to the Tokyo Seafood Hibachi Grill & Sushi, and a police helicopter hovered above the area.
One police official could be seen carrying pieces of cardboard and other items from the mall’s entrance and storing them in a police vehicle. Numerous homicide detectives gathered outside of a mall entrance by the seafood restaurant.
The rest of the sprawling shopping mall complex was largely open to the public Tuesday morning.
In February, a deputy U.S. Marshal was shot and wounded, and a suspect was killed, during an exchange of gunfire as law enforcement officials tried to arrest the man, wanted for attempted murder and robbery, in Baltimore.
By David Mcfadden