By Julie Scharper
Baltimore Sun reporter
BALTIMORE, Md. — A man wearing body armor shot two police officers in an East Baltimore alley early yesterday after fleeing the scene of another shooting, police said.
The suspect, Curtis Blache, 28, of no fixed address, was in critical condition and on life support at Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday after he was shot several times in the torso by officers, police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said at a news conference.
According to police, Officer Anthony Jobst, 47, was in his patrol car in the first block of E. Lafayette Ave. about 2:30 a.m. when he heard gunshots and saw a white Audi speeding away. Jobst, who was joined by four other uniformed officers, drove after the Audi and followed it for about a mile to an alley in the 400 block of E. Lorraine Ave. in the Harwood neighborhood.
The Audi crashed in the alley, and the driver ran out and hid behind a brick wall. When officers approached him, the man opened fire, shooting Jobst in the foot and grazing the left leg of 27-year-old Officer Hadyn Gross, Bealefeld said.
Officers returned fire, striking the man several times in the upper torso, but the gunfight was "protracted" because he was wearing body armor enhanced with steel inserts, Bealefeld said.
Only people who work in law enforcement or who hold a permit are allowed to possess body armor in the city, police said.
Back at Lafayette Avenue, where shots were first fired, police found Rico Alston, 27, with two bullet wounds to the chest. Alston was taken to an area hospital. He was in serious but stable condition yesterday, police said.
"Mr. Blache and Mr. Alston were involved in some kind of dispute," Bealefeld said.
Blache had a .44-caliber revolver and a 9 mm handgun on him when he was arrested, police said. During the gun battle, he fired one round of ammunition from both weapons and then reloaded the 9 mm, police said.
The five officers who were involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending a review of the incident, as is required by department policy, Bealefeld said.
A search of online court records shows that Blache was convicted of second-degree assault in 2004, but Bealefeld said that he had other convictions that had been expunged from his record. Alston has a record of drug-related convictions, according to court records.
Copyright 2008 The Baltimore Sun
Balt. man with body armor fires at police