By Colin Campbell and Tim Wheeler
The Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE — The man Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts termed "Public Enemy No. 1" Sunday afternoon turned himself in at police headquarters less than an hour later, ending a two-day manhunt following the Friday night shooting of a well-liked sergeant.
Gregg Thomas, 34, was arrested Sunday evening in the shooting of off-duty Sgt. Keith Mcneill, after police spent the weekend serving six search warrants and fielding tips from the public.
Thomas walked tearfully down the sidewalk to the Central district police station while a WJZ news crew looked on around 6 p.m. Batts confirmed the arrest in a news conference about two hours later.
At the second news conference, Batts introduced Jamal Johnson, Herbert Segar and David Richardson, the three officers who handcuffed Thomas.
"One less suspect, one less killer, on the streets of Baltimore," he said, holding up a mug shot of Thomas, who has an extensive criminal record.
Thomas was convicted of second-degree murder, along with other charges, for the February 2003 killing of 17-year-old Davon Alexander Lindsey in East Baltimore. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison but was released last summer, Batts said. Online court records listed Thomas' residence in the 1900 block of Chelsea Road at the time of the 2003 conviction.
Thomas' mother, Sharon Walker, 51, and sister, Shalena Gadson, 30, were also arrested Sunday on outstanding warrants on various drug charges, police said.
His brother, Lamont Thomas, 33, of the 6200 block of Plantview Way, was charged Friday with drug possession and intended distribution. Batts said Walker posted Lamont Thomas' $500,000 bail.
Mcneill was "fighting for his life," in critical condition at Shock Trauma Sunday, Batts said. The injured sergeant was barely conscious and unable to talk, but when the commissioner and other members of the department visited Mcneill and his family, he flashed a hearty thumbs-up to indicate he was OK, Batts said.
When Mcneill's wife, Danielle, heard that Thomas had been arrested, Batts said, she broke down in tears in the hall.
Batts read a statement from Danielle Mcneill at the second news conference: "I appreciate everyone's prayers, support and the long hours you put in to catch the man who shot Keith. I love all of you just as much as you have shown your love for Keith."
The 19-year Baltimore police veteran is "a very courageous man, a very honorable man and a very popular employee and family man here within this police organization," Batts said at the earlier news conference.
Police said a man walked up to Mcneill, who was parked in his vehicle in the 1900 block of Belair Road near the intersection with East North Avenue, and shot him several times Friday. Batts said he was off-duty, doing personal errands.
Mcneill's shooting rattled the motorcycling community he is a part of as well as the Police Department.
Roger Lyle of Hagerstown, who runs Motorcycle Xcitement, a school and organization for motorcycle enthusiasts and racers, described Mcneill as "one of the sweetest men I've seen in motorcycle racing."
He said Mcneill had been racing for about five years with his organization, which holds training and races at Summit Point Raceway near Charles Town, W.Va.
"Keith is a family man," added Lyle. "He would help you do anything he needed ... I'm devastated this happened."
"I pray to God he can save us all," Lyle said. "This is a real tragedy."
Batts thanked a host of local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies that assisted in the search but declined to detail the exact circumstances surrounding the shooting or how they had identified Thomas as a suspect.
"We don't know the motive," Batts said. "I don't know why you would walk up to someone in a car and shoot them multiple times.
"All I can say is I do thank God that my officer is still alive. I do thank God that this family will not be without a husband or a dad."
Copyright 2014 The Baltimore Sun
McClatchy-Tribune News Service