By Jessica Anderson and Kevin Rector
The Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE — A Baltimore County police tactical officer was fatally shot while serving a search warrant at a Catonsville home on Wednesday morning, according to police.
The officer was identified as Jason Schneider, 36, a 13-year-veteran of the force and with the tactical unit since 2004. Schneider was inside a home on Winters Lane at the time of the shooting around 5:30 a.m. Officials said he was a married father of two.
Police said Schneider and other officers had been going room-to-room in the house when he was shot several times. He returned fire and hit a suspect, who remains in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Police did not identify the suspect Wednesday morning.
During the press conference outside the hospital, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz called the death "a terrible loss for Baltimore County."
Governor Martin O'Malley ordered the Maryland State Flag flown at half-staff in honor of Police Officer First Class Jason Schneider.
The last Baltimore County officer who was killed by gunfire was in 2000. Sgt. Bruce Allen Prothero was working off-duty as a security guard when he chased suspects from a Pikesville jewelry store. Officer John W. Stem, Sr. died the same year as a result of gunshot wound from a shooting in 1977. The last city officer shot by a suspect and killed in the line of duty was Troy Lamont Chesley in 2007. Officer William Torbit was killed in January 2011, by fellow officers.
Chief James W. Johnson held back tears as he spoke about coping with the loss of an officer.
"These things hurt terribly," he said, as police officers depend on each other and become especially close."You're dependent upon your coworkers."
Johnson said the county has seen an overall decline in violent crime over the past five years, but the shooting is the fourth incident of gunfire in the larger Catonsville area in the last month. Johnson said the tactical unit was serving a warrant in relation to one of those shootings.
On Aug. 21, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the arm north of Route 40 and the Westview Shopping Center, closer to Woodlawn.
On Aug. 19, a man was shot in the 100 block of Winters Lane, a short distance from the police-involved shooting on Wednesday.
On Aug. 17, two men were shot in the 5300 block of Edmondson Ave. near the city line.
In July 2012, another county tactical officer was attacked by a resident with a sword in a Reisterstown home when police attempted to execute a search warrant in an attempted murder case. The resident was killed and the officer was uninjured.
Kamenetz said Schneider's father is a retired city police officer. "He is remarkably stoic," he said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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