11/27/2007

Balt. suspect, officer exchange shots

By Josh Mitchell and Lynn Anderson
Balimore Sun reporters

BALTIMORE, Md. — Dave Jones stepped outside of his Lutherville home to go to work early yesterday morning and immediately noticed someone had rifled through the inside of his truck. Envelopes and a pair of sunglasses lay on the seat, and the glove compartment was ajar.

Jones looked up, he recalled, and saw two young men walking down the street.

"It was very suspicious," said Jones, who owns A Taste of Philly, a pretzel shop in Towson. "They looked down at the ground. ... They just looked like they were in a hurry to get away."

Minutes later, he heard gunshots.

A gunman had shot at a Baltimore County police officer responding to a report of a car break-in, and the officer returned fire, police said. Within minutes, one of the suspects had been arrested, and police had surrounded a home where they believed the gunman was holed up.

Police arrested the shooter in Baltimore County in the late afternoon.

The officer involved in the exchange of gunfire was not injured.

Police are investigating whether the two men were involved in eight reported car break-ins early yesterday near where the gunfire was exchanged in a neighborhood off York Road, just outside the Beltway.

Police first received a call about 4:45 a.m. of destruction of property on Hedgewood Road, said Cpl. Michael Hill, a county police spokesman.

An officer driving in the area saw two men walking on the road, Hill said. He got out of the car and approached the men, and asked them what they were doing in the area. One of the men abruptly turned and fired a handgun at the officer, missing him, Hill said.

The officer fired at least one shot back, Hill said. The gunman fled, while the second man stayed at the scene, Hill said.

The officer arrested that man, placed him in the back of his patrol car and drove around the neighborhood to find the other suspect. He eventually saw him run into a building in the first block of Cavan Drive, two blocks from where the officer first saw the men, Hill said.

Police cordoned off an area between York Road and Bellona Avenue, and between Seminary Avenue and the Beltway, disrupting traffic during the morning rush. Officers with dogs searched the area, and a state police helicopter briefly flew overhead, Hill said.

Officers surrounded the home for more than three hours, before determining the suspect was not inside.

Police do not know how the man got away, but Hill said he likely exited the building within minutes of entering it, before police set up a barricade.

"You have a light rail that runs through there, MTA bus lines that run up and through there," Hill said. "He could have flowed in with the people there."

Hill said investigators were interviewing both suspects yesterday and planned to file criminal charges.

Copyright 2007 The Baltimore Sun

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