BALTIMORE: A suspect died and an officer was wounded in a shootout Sunday evening in a violence-prone Baltimore district where a “crime suppression initiative” was taking place, Baltimore’s interim police chief said.
Interim Police Chief Gary Tuggle said at a late-night news conference that gunfire erupted just before 6:30 p.m. in a west Baltimore neighborhood. He said the male officer, a police veteran, was being treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and that the injuries did not appear life-threatening.
He did not release the name of the man who they said shot the officer before being killed.
No one else was hurt, Tuggle told reporters near the scene in west Baltimore’s Poppleton neighborhood. The immediate area where the shooting took place was quickly barricaded off by investigators as an “active crime scene” and access in and out was being restricted to local residents only. Bright lights were brought in on towers to illuminate the scene as officers investigated into the night.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the district was the same area where two people were shot and wounded last week.
Tuggle said crime suppression operations had been carried out in other districts of the city previously and that this was just another area where that initiative was being undertaken when the shooting broke out. He said the shootout began after the officer came upon the suspect, adding police with the crime suppression initiative weren’t actively seeking the person who was fatally shot.
Authorities said they were still gathering information on the circumstances of the shooting and declined to identify the officer and the suspect by name or race. Tuggle said police would be looking at body-worn camera footage and gathering evidence, an activity that would continue after sunrise.
Asked about the crime suppression program’s activities, Tuggle didn’t immediately elaborate on its methods.
“There’s been a lot of violence in this area and we have taken extra steps in this area to address the violence,” he said Sunday.
Tuggle also didn’t say how long investigators would keep the neighborhood closed off.
The Sun reported that the wounded officer was in good spirits Sunday night, according to a police officers’ union. The police union president had gone to the trauma center with other officials, the union tweeted, according to the newspaper.
Area residents told the newspaper they heard many shots.
Kelly Blanding said he was watching football in a home near where the shooting erupted.
He told The Sun he heard so many shots that “I started to wonder, when is it gonna stop?”
“It was like a war out here,” Blanding added. —AP