BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore city police officer was wounded in a shooting early Sunday while responding to a call about a large cookout just a day after the mayor asked residents to avoid large gatherings.
Commissioner Michael Harrison said officers responded to the 2300 block of Winchester Street around 3:14 a.m. after police received multiple calls about a large party in a parking lot near Rosemont Garden Apartments.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Storm Threat Triggers Alert Day
Officers were helping to disperse the crowd when they saw an SUV speeding into the parking lot with damage to its tire.
— Sean Streicher (@SeanStreicher) June 14, 2020
At some point, the officers engaged with the driver and realized the driver was armed. A struggle ensued, Harrison said, and the officer was shot while trying to take the suspect into custody.
Police officials said the officer, who was shot once in his torso, was rushed to Shock Trauma where he went into surgery around 3:30 a.m.
The Fraternal Order of Police reported the officer is now out of surgery and in stable condition.
President Mancuso reports that our Officer is out of surgery and in stable condition.
— Baltimore City FOP (@FOP3) June 14, 2020
Dr. Thomas Scalea with the University of Maryland Shock Trauma also confirmed the officer is stable.
Harrison said the officer is a 20-year-veteran of the Baltimore Police Department and served as a National Guard member.
He said police have yet to review the footage from the officer’s body-worn camera and are not sure if the officers fired their weapons.
According to Harrison, police do have a suspect in custody and they also seized a firearm.
“Even though our officer was shot- the two of them were still able to subdue this subject and take him into custody,” Harrison said.
Baltimore leaders said they spoke to the officer’s family who are “concerned” and “very angry” understandably.
“During very tough tumultuous times, in spite of all that’s going on everywhere in the country, the members of the Baltimore Police Department, continue to serve,” Harrison said, “continue to protect and continue to do what is necessary to keep the people of Baltimore safe.”
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Mayor Jack Young asked people to put the guns down and to find other means to solve disputes.
Young said despite the shooting, the crime plan is working — murders are up, but other crime stats are down.
Harrison said his department will continue to address the culture of violence in Baltimore said the shooting is an “actually disregard for human life and disregard for authority and disregard for law enforcement — the actual people who are out there working to keep people safe.”
The police commissioner said police will continue to target violent offenders.
“The decision to pull the trigger is not made when the trigger is pulled, it’s made when a person walks out of the door with a gun, so it is about the illegal carrying of guns and the willingness to use those guns, even against law enforcement,” Harrison added. “So it has to be about those violent offenders, who we are working very hard to get off the street and keep off of the streets of Baltimore.”
— Stetson Miller (@stetsonmreports) June 14, 2020
Residents tell WJZ there have been issues with large parties in the area.
“This is what’s been going on, for the last two years,” a neighbor said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
“We shouldn’t have to live like that,” they said.
They added the apartment complex is no stranger to gun violence.
“About two months ago when there was a shooting here, and a seven-year-old almost got shot,” they said.
Just a day before, Mayor Young had asked residents to avoid large gatherings and to maintain social distancing after the city saw an increase in coronavirus cases.
“I am frustrated and concerned by residents failing to heed our continued warnings about the need to practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings in order to keep reducing the spread of COVID-19. The gatherings we are seeing – with people in close contact, with crowds of people in small spaces – could increase the spread of COVID-19. We have seen tremendous progress on bending the curve, and to see people engaging in risky behaviors at this point is incredibly disappointing – it has to stop.”
Though it has not been determined whether either of the two officers fired their weapons, both were wearing body-worn cameras and that footage will be reviewed.
Early Saturday morning, five people were shot in Fells Point where large crowds have been gathering for weeks.MORE NEWS: Bacteria Levels Prompt Recreational Water Advisory At Cox's Point Park
Following that incident, city officials said Broadway Square would be closing at 11 p.m. Saturday night.