BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  There was a heavy police presence outside a Baltimore County 24-hour Giant food store after gunfire erupted early Tuesday morning in Catonsville.

Police say an off-duty officer moonlighting as a security at the store opened fire on a man accused of stealing.

That officer has now been placed on desk duty, with Baltimore County Police saying he had to scramble for his gun after the fleeing suspect dragged him across the parking lot of the Route 40 grocery store with his car.

It happened just before 4 a.m., but crime scene tape still blocked off the lot after daybreak.

“When I came past and I saw the yellow tape and I said ‘Oh my god, they’re still here,'” said shopper Cordelia Sykes.

The officer first saw the suspect loading up on merchandise in the detergent aisle, then he “followed the suspect as he passed all of the working registers and then exited the Giant store,” police department spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said.

Then, police say, the suspect tried to take off in a silver Lincoln, somehow dragging the officer with his car in the process.

The officer was allegedly dragged 108 feet before he pulled his gun.

“During that time while he was being dragged, he was able to retrieve his firearm and began to fire shots at the suspect, ultimately killing him and causing the vehicle to come to a stop,” Peach said.

The suspect died on the scene. Authorities say the officer is doing OK.

Shoppers are shocked.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Sykes said. “I really couldn’t because this is a nice area. It really is.”

The officer will remain on administrative duty while the incident is investigated.

Police say the alleged thief had an accomplice who was not shot, but was overcome by the incident and taken to the hospital. There is no word at this time whether that person will face charges.

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Comments (5)
  1. Tammy Chaney says:

    I am so angry about all of this. Chris was not a horrible person, he’s never hurt anybody. Why the off duty officer took such drastic action over a few grocery items is something I cannot understand. The officer choose to grab hold of the car, he also choose to keep holding on and then took out his gun and fired into that car. Was there an armed robbery? No, was anyone hurt or threaten at any point before the officer choose to grab hold of the car? Why would he feel the need to do that when he had the video surveillance, tag, make of car, he had all the information to catch them why did he feel the need to take this young mans life? Chris keeps being referred to as the thief like that’s all he was. Chris was a awesome young man, down on his luck at the time. He was loved and had friends and family. I cannot imagine what his mother is going through. Nobody deserves to die over a few groceries, and Chris deserves better than to keep being referred to as the thief. .

  2. this is completely and under BS. He was not a thief, he was “suspected”. You have labeled him as a criminal and demonized him. When did entering a moving vehicle become standard police operation? This has to stop. Chris was a fantastic human being, an amazing person and one of those most charismatic gentlemen I’ve ever met.

    1. Tammy Chaney says:

      You are absolutely right. To ever meet Chris you had to love him. I will never comprehend why this happened. Chris could light up a dark room. He was an awesome friend to my son, every time I saw him I got a big hug and smile, all of my memories of Chris are of what a great guy he was always making me laugh, his personality was unmatched. Now the world is far worse off without Chris in it. I hope they charge this guy, I don’t see how they can’t charge him he murdered Chris, he approached the car, he should not have turned this into taking a life.