Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Dozens of federal agents were in a special operation to catch violent criminals. But it ended with a wild chase and crash. WJZ was first to show you the chaos Monday night.
Mike Hellgren investigates how it unfolded.
Surveillance video shows suspects fleeing in an SUV that crashed into a car, and then speeding onto Patapsco Avenue during rush hour Monday.
The chaos that unfolded gave the public a rare look at a major ATF raid performed by one of the agency’s most exclusive crimefighting units, a SWAT-style team composed of agents from across the East Coast.
Business owner Larry Spector was just a few feet away.
“There’s no way that this many people could have been mobilized and respond that quickly,” Spector said. “It was astounding. It was almost as if they were coming out of the woodwork.”
The ATF has declined to give details on who they targeted and arrested.
One agent was hurt. He’s now out of the hospital.
Analyst Vernon Herron works with the University of Maryland’s Center for Health and Homeland Security.
“I would suspect they were doing surveillance and planning for an entire year,” Herron said. “These are very unpredictable. You’re dealing with people who have a propensity for violence. And they’re not going to give up easily.”
The unit targets hot spots, developing a list of the worst offenders. In this case, they made several arrests and say the community is safer now because of it.
“This was very well organized,” Spector said.
“These officers train year-round,” Herron said. “They’re tactical officers, and they train for situations just like this.”
The ATF has declined to speak on camera but say this is an ongoing investigation and there could still be more arrests.
Baltimore City Police also assisted in the raid.