Baltimore homicide detective was shot in the head Wednesday afternoon while investigating a killing near a notoriously violent intersection in West Baltimore, police said — an attack that stunned officials and residents already beleaguered by the city’s unrelenting violence.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, speaking outside the Maryland Shock Trauma Center Wednesday night, said the 18-year veteran was in “very, very grave condition.” He did not release the detective’s name, but said he is a husband and father of two.
Davis said the detective was in the 900 block of Bennett Place in Harlem Park at about 4:30 p.m. when he observed a man “engaged in suspicious behavior.” The detective tried to start a conversation with the man, Davis said, and was shot in the head.
The detective’s partner was nearby and came to his aid, police said.
Davis said the “cold, callous” shooter was still at large Wednesday night, but wouldn’t be for long. Authorities said there is a $64,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
“With this community, we’re going to identify him, we’re going to arrest him, and we’re going to ensure justice is done,” Davis said.
Gov. Larry Hogan said on Twitter that the “individual responsible for this heinous crime will be found, charged, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Baltimore Police has our full support as they track down this violent criminal and bring him to justice,” he said.
The shooting was the second of a law enforcement officer in West Baltimore this month. Sgt. Tony Anthony Mason Jr., 40, a District of Columbia police officer who lived in Baltimore, was shot to death in the 2800 block of Elgin Avenue on Nov. 4. He was off duty at the time.
It came a week after Mayor Catherine Pugh said violent crime in the city was “out of control,” and Davis blasted prosecutors and judges alike for allowing violent repeat offenders back onto the city’s streets.
There have been 308 homicides in Baltimore in 2017, the third straight year of more than 300 killings.
After the officer’s shooting Wednesday, police set up a wide perimeter and officers could be seen taking cover around corners. The police helicopter, Foxtrot, swirled low, Police used the helicopter loudspeaker to tell people to go inside their homes.
Robert Queen, 23, lives about a block and a half from the scene. He said he was smoking a cigarette on his front steps when he heard sirens.
“It’s like a movie,” he said. He said he’s sick of the violence that plagues his street and his city.
“Living like this,” he said, “who wouldn’t be nervous all the time?”
The location, just northwest of U.S. 40 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, is a particularly violent one. More than a dozen people have been shot or killed there in recent years.