Teen Dead After Police-Involved Shooting
(WJZ) BALTIMORE A teenager died in a Baltimore hospital, hours after police say he tried to shoot one of their own. It happened just feet from a shopping center on Reisterstown Road in Northwest Baltimore.
Mike Hellgren reports fifteen-year-old Ralph Simmont was brought to Sinai Hospital, where he died four hours later. This is the latest in a string of police-involved shootings.
It happened in a split second. Baltimore City Police stopped three teens who were walking along the sidewalk near the Reisterstown Road Plaza and one of the young men pulled a gun. The officer pulled his service weapon and fired, hitting the teen in the abdomen.
"It sounded like a shot and that's when I looked to my left and saw the police officer with the gun in his hand and the person down on the ground," said witness Mike Schwartz.
Police tell Eyewitness News the officer stopped the teens for behaving suspiciously but when one pulled a gun from his waistband, the officer had no choice but to fire.
"When a suspect pulls that large caliber handgun and points it at a police officer, unfortunately this is the outcome that they're gonna get," said Sterling Clifford, Baltimore City Police spokesperson.
Simmont was rushed to Sinai Hospital, where he later died. His two friends were taken into custody for questioning, all while frightened neighbors watched.
"I was jogging and saw all these police cars," a witness said.
"It just concerns me because my son goes to elementary school right down the street and I'm just worried about the area. Should I take him out of school or put him in another area?" said Tanya Brown.
This is the 30th police involved shooting this year, compared with just 15 last year.
"More and more police are encountering armed, violent suspects. The commissioner, the mayor, the senior staff of the police department have been very clear that we will not tolerate guns in this city," Clifford said.
The officer involved has been placed on routine administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation, but a department spokesperson says at this point, it appears he was acting correctly.