BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A robbery and shooting in the heart of downtown has those working near the University of Maryland campus on edge.
Mike Schuh tells us what happened, and what didn’t.
Police officers were so incensed that good information was not getting out while this incident was happening that they took matters into their own hands, particularly at a time when the university did not set up its alert system and send it out to all its students and staff.
The areas opposite the main entrance of the hospital were swarming.
“Oh yeah, the whole street was blocked off, cars, flying ambulances,” said Shawn McQueen, a nurse who works at the campus.
Deep in the underground garage, a man was shot. It happened in the lowest level of the garage, six floors below street level. Details are meager.
“No, it’s too preliminary. I don’t have any description of the suspect,” said Det. Kevin Brown, Baltimore City Police Department.
So meager, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police put out information on his Twitter page saying the victim was a patient, who was arriving for an operation and was robbed and shot three times and that he was previously stabbed in a home invasion. And the lack of a description of the suspect should outrage the citizens of Baltimore, especially when those working on campus weren’t officially notified.
“Word of mouth, news traveled quickly,” McQueen said. “My mom actually called me just to make sure I was out of harm’s way.”
Reporter: “Did the university put out a broadcast, saying don’t go to that garage? Were any of those texting systems alerted?”
Chief Antonio Williams of the University of Maryland Baltimore Police Department: “We did not use our text alert system.”
“That was a very localized incident, to a very small area in the basement of the Plaza Garage,” Williams explained. “As such, those two buildings that we knew would be pretty much impacted, we directly responded there and rather than use the text alert system, we physically went in those two buildings and informed the staff in those buildings…”
The chief says there are now extra patrols. And when WJZ was in the garage, there was parking personnel walking the floors underground. A university email went out to those on campus Friday afternoon. And though pretty generic, here’s the description of the suspect– he’s a black male in his 20s, with a Ravens hat, white t-shirt and blue jeans.
“Maybe it’s not as secure as we thought or originally thought,” said Ruth Ngumi who works on campus.
Police said the victim was 48. He was getting out of his black Mercedes S500 when he was assaulted and robbed, the keys still in the ignition. He was shot three times in the back. His condition has gone from critical to serious.
Campus police say there have been two violent incidents on their 64-acre campus in the past two years.