BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Fifty-six shots fired. Police kill a father and son, saying the duo planned targeted murders. The action was taken just in time, they say; police say they foiled a potential mass shooting, taking down two men armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun in east Baltimore. Now we’re learning more about their history and why those weapons were on the streets.

Investigator Mike Hellgren has more.

Father and son had a history of handgun violations. Police say those weapons were meant to kill and they’re seeing more and more high-powered weapons on city streets.

“The father, Matthew Vincent Wood, Jr., he had in his possession this weapon here,” said Baltimore City Police spokesman TJ Smith.

A semi-automatic rifle with a scope loaded with 25 rounds. His teenage son, Kimani Johnson, had a handgun.

Three officers on patrol because of recent violence in the area near North and Greenmount encountered them. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the duo planned to target enemies.

“The cops get out of the car and engage these killers—these would-be killers,” Davis said.

Radio dispatch transmissions tell the story:

“Signal 13. Shots fired.”

“Two suspects down. Two suspects down.”

“Guys came out with assault weapons. Officers are fine. Both suspects are down; we need a medic.”

“Make that crime scene large, guys. Make it large.”

“I need crime scene tape.”

The investigation shows that neither suspect opened fire, but police did–a staggering number of times.

“Wow. It was a lot,” said Dwight Hargrave, who heard gunfire from his home.

“It took 56 rounds to eliminate the threat,” Davis said.

A WJZ investigation in February detailed how easy it is to get weapons from undercover sellers. The more powerful, the more popular the weapon.

“You want to kill. Those firearms are designed to kill,” Davis said.

The father and son had lengthy records, with several handgun offenses. Wood was on probation for a gun offense; his son was on probation on a gun charge.

“We could have had a mass shooting,” Davis said. “This is no joke. One’s got a long gun; one’s got a pistol in his hand, and they’re hell-bent on shooting and killing.”

Police identified the officers who fired their weapons: Officer Norman Jones, a two-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department assigned to Eastern District operations, and Sergeant Joseph Wiczulis, an eight-year veteran of the agency also assigned to Eastern District operations.

They, along with a third officer who did not discharge his weapon, are on routine administrative leave.

The commissioner has been pushing lawmakers in Annapolis to make it a felony in Maryland to illegally possess a weapon. Right now, it’s a misdemeanor.

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