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.