BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As an intense manhunt continues, police identify the man they say murdered his coworker inside the Department of Public Works facility early Thursday morning.
Rick Ritter with the frightening moments and what led to the tragic incident.
The suspect has been identified as 47-year-old Cipisirono Cole. Police say he murdered his co-worker, 34-year-old Darrin Johnson Jr.
According to online court documents, Cole has a lengthy criminal history. He’s been charged with assault and disorderly conduct in the past. He’s now being charged with murder.
Cipisirono Cole, 47, is the DPW worker police say shot and killed his colleague, 34-year-old Darrin Johnson Jr., at the department’s facility along N. Fulton Avenue.
A heated argument quickly turned deadly in the men’s locker room.
Chilling audio sheds light on the chaos, as police sealed off the building top to bottom searching desperately for Cole, who got away, while Johnson Jr. died at Shock Trauma shortly after.
“Violence in the streets, violence in the workplace, it’s just everywhere right now,” said Daniell Mims.
Rattled by the news, Mims lives right across the street.
“I would like to know if they’re going to find him, and are we going to be alright?” she said.
WJZ spoke with several DPW workers, who did not want to go on camera, but say the alleged dispute between their two colleagues had been going on for weeks.
“It really doesn’t matter… If it was a personal argument or a professional argument, a bad guy took the life of somebody at work,” said T.J. Smith, Baltimore City Police Department.
A tragedy that’s left the department stunned.
“It’s certainly a shock–both employees working for us–and I know it’s going to be a big blow to our department as a whole,” said Rudy Chow, director of Baltimore DPW.
In a statement Chow said the following:
“I, along with the extended Baltimore City Department of Public Works family, was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic violence this morning at our Park Terminal facility. One employee has died, and as of this afternoon the Baltimore City Police were still looking for a person in connection with this incident.
Workplace violence of this nature is something you hear about in other places, but you cannot prepare yourself for the emotions when it strikes home. Our employees at Park Terminal responded as professionally as possible, sheltering in place until the police arrived to conduct a thorough investigation. I am grateful that the police agreed to my request that they conduct a thorough search of the entire building to make sure the immediate threat had passed.
We emphasize safety to all of our workers. This includes wearing helmets and vests on the job site, as well as identifying and correcting potential office hazards. But we are not immune to violence.
Union leaders quickly reached out today, working with us to take care of the employees touched by today’s tragedy. Many of the workers at Park Terminal took the day off, with permission of the City’s Labor Commissioner. And we have reached out to the City’s Employee Assistance Program to help workers dealing with grief, fear, anger, or other challenges.
This will be a difficult time for DPW friends and co-workers. For now we will let the police continue their investigation, without commenting or speculating on what happened and why. We will be respectful of the families whose lives are forever changed. And we will continue our dedicated service to our customers.”
A union representative says his members were stunned by the violence. But unlike other workplace violence, the suspect did not fire at anyone else.
“This isn’t a random incident,’ said Smith. “This was a targeted incident. Persons were known to one another and again we’re confident in the direction we’re headed now in our investigation — that we’ll be able to identify a suspect publicly soon.”
Cole is being charged with first and second-degree murder, along with several other charges.
Police say despite rumors, this was never an active shooter scene.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued the following statement:
“I am saddened and disturbed by the death of one of our own – a dedicated Department of Public Works employee who was shot and killed inside the Park Terminal building earlier this morning. I would like to praise every worker who called upon their training to react to the situation. Their professionalism helped ensure that no one else was hurt or injured. My deepest condolences are extended to every member of the victim’s family, and to our DPW family. We are making every city resource available to those who need assistance while coming to terms with this senseless violence.”
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the killer are asked to contact the Warrant Apprehension Task Force at 410-637-8970, the Homicide Unit at 410-396-2100, or 1-866-7LOCKUP.