City officers shoot man after he opens fire
Suspect attacked officers as they made drug arrest in East Baltimore
By Gus G. Sentementes
Originally published February 2, 2007
Exchanging gunfire during a chase across several city streets and alleys, Baltimore police officers shot a man who had opened fire on them while they were arresting a drug suspect in East Baltimore this morning, authorities said.
No officers were wounded, and the man was being treated for injuries at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Police said they recovered a semi-automatic handgun. It was the second time in three days that city officers have shot someone.
Today's incident began about 10:30 a.m., with undercover officers from the organized crime division watching suspected drug dealers in the 1800 block of Hope St., a block south of East North Avenue and two blocks east of Greenmount Cemetery.
Col. Frederick H. Bealefeld III, the deputy commissioner of operations, said officers saw suspected dealers stash a small amount of drugs on the street, moved in on the men, and arrested one of them and recovered about 25 gel caps of suspected heroin. While waiting for a prisoner transport wagon, Bealefeld said a man with a gun appeared and fired at the officers.
Eastern District patrol officers gave chase down streets and alleys, exchanging gunfire along the way, Bealefeld said, and wounded the man somewhere between Aisquith and Holbrook streets. The man's identity, and that of three patrol officers who shot at the man, were not immediately released.
Bealefeld said that the officers who made the initial drug arrest were undercover, but had identified themselves as officers in the area and that uniformed patrol officers were in the area when the man began shooting.
"We believe it was clear to the people in the area that these were indeed Baltimore City policemen," Bealefeld said.
Preliminary reports from police indicate that the suspect fired between eight and 10 rounds at police. The crime scene was spread over a several-block area in East Baltimore's Oliver neighborhood. Crime lab technicians could be seen recovering shell casings and evidence at several different locations, while patrol officers knocked on doors and interviewed residents.
"I heard gunshots and I saw a boy on the ground," said Nakia Brown, 15, who lives in the 1600 block of Holbrook St. Brown said she was in her house when she heard two or three gunshots, looked out into the rear alley and saw a young man lying in the alley -- conscious and talking -- with police around him.
The gun was found near the suspect, police said.
The officers involved in today's gunbattle are from the same squad involved in an accidental shooting on Wednesday on East North Avenue after patrol officers pursued a woman in a stolen car. One officer shot a colleague by mistake as they converged on a car believed to have been occupied by a person with a gun. The wounded officer was hit in his protective vest and suffered minor injuries.
Later Wednesday, police shot and killed a man, 18-year-old Issac Pitts, who they said had broken into an occupied house in Northwest Baltimore and confronted them with a gun in an alley.
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