Md. police shoot robbery suspect outside homeless shelter
The suspect pulled out a weapon and refused police orders to drop it
By Justin Fenton
The Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE, Md. — Baltimore police said officers shot a man they encountered while responding to a robbery call near the city's Code Blue homeless shelter. Meanwhile, detectives were investigating a homicide in East Baltimore — the first in more than a week.
The homicide occurred about 4:15 p.m. Friday in the 400 block of Patterson Park Ave. Police said a man was shot in the head and taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. No additional information was immediately released.
Then, about 4:45 p.m., police said someone at the homeless shelter in the 600 block of The Fallsway called to report an armed robbery. Lt. Col. David Reitz, head of the criminal investigation bureau, told reporters that two officers encountered a man in the 300 block of E. Centre St. matching the description.
"He pulled out a weapon. The officers ordered him to drop the weapon, and it resulted in a police-involved shooting," Reitz said. The officers were not injured.
City police have shot five people so far this year; four of those incidents occurred this month. In 2013, police shot 15 people.
At the scene, the man could be seen writhing on the sidewalk under the Jones Falls Expressway as police set up crime scene tape. An officer stood over him, and a weapon was visible on the ground nearby. A woman later identified by police as a possible relative of the wounded man was led away in plastic handcuffs. The man was taken to an area hospital, but his condition was unknown.
Several people witnessed the incident. Perry Black, 40, said the man was arguing with other people at the shelter and was asked to leave by staff, who knew he was armed. Black said he saw officers approach the man, giving him an order to drop the weapon, and then heard six shots.
Walter Lomax, 43, said he saw the man pointing the gun in the air. "I saw the brother backing up, with the gun pointed in the air, never pointed at them," he said.
Lomax said he knew the man as "C.J." and said he had recently been robbed and may have acquired the gun for protection. "He's a good person — he just was going through some things," Lomax said.
Others behind the crime scene tape were upset with police, saying they believed the officers did not need to fire. "It was uncalled for," said Candice Bartholow, 22.
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