BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — A suspect armed with an assault-style weapon was fatally shot by police at a West Baltimore apartment complex Thursday night after trading gunfire with plainclothes officers, authorities said.
Four plainclothes officers wearing tactical vests in an unmarked vehicle were driving along the 2300 block of Winchester Street about 9:30 p.m. when they heard gunshots ring out, Baltimore Police spokesperson T.J. Smith said at a news briefing after midnight Friday.
The officers traced the gunfire to the parking lot of an apartment complex where authorities say the gunman opened fire at them. The unidentified suspect was struck at some point as officers returned fire, according to police. He retreated, but was later found on the second level of the complex and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
No one else was wounded during the shootout.
Smith acknowledged detectives were looking into the possibility that the gunfire may have been intended to draw police out. “Were they specifically drawn there by him because he might have known they were in the area? We don’t know the answer to that yet, but that’s something that we’re trying to figure out,” he told reporters.
At some point, investigators located the weapon, described by Smith as an “AR-15 style weapon,” near a wood line at the complex. Several shell casings from the weapon were found at the scene. Police released a picture of the weapon at a news briefing.
Two officers involved in the shootout have been placed on administrative leave, which is routine for all officer-involved shootings, Smith told reporters.
It’s not yet clear exactly who or what the gunman was shooting at prior to the officers’ arrival, according to police. A group of children at a nearby basketball court told WJZ’s Rick Ritter they heard several “heavy” gunshots, and then ran home.
Investigators, initially under the impression that there might be multiple suspects, called in the SWAT team and assistance from Baltimore County Police, but later ruled out the possibility of a second gunman, Smith said.
Further details on the circumstances surrounding the shooting are expected to be released at a follow-up news briefing Friday afternoon.
This isn’t the first police shooting in Baltimore this year involving someone armed with a semi-automatic rifle. In March, a man and his 18-year-old son died after police say plainclothes officers opened fire on them when they found them aiming guns at someone across a street. Police said special operations unit officers were patrolling in an unmarked car when they happened upon Matthew Wood Jr. and his son, Kimani Johnson, who had gotten out of a vehicle and were armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun.
(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)