Police blood drive honors wounded sergeant

More than 100 area law enforcement officers, firefighters, police retirees and others donated blood Wednesday at an American Red Cross blood drive honoring wounded Baltimore police Sgt. Keith Mcneill.

The drive was held at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 in Hampden and the turnout surpassed the event's goals of obtaining between 75 and 80 units of blood for area hospitals.

Mcneill, a 19-year veteran assigned to the Eastern District, was shot multiple times on March 14 while he was off-duty outside an East Baltimore car-repair shop. The shooting remains under investigation, and Mcneill remains at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he continues to be treated, Baltimore police spokesman Det. Jeremy Silbert said.

Mcneill's son, Keith Mcneill III, attended the drive, donating blood for the first time, according to the police union. Sgt. Mcneill's wife, Danielle, and Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts were also attendees.

Wali Salaam, 68, a retired Baltimore police canine officer who spent 30 years on the force, was among the first donors. A friend of Sgt. Mcneill, Salaam said he came to honor an "outstanding officer with good character, a good leader with good disposition."

"The guys here," he said looking around the packed room, "they stick up for each other."

The police union last held a similar blood drive for Baltimore Police Agent Gene Cassidy in March 2012. Cassidy, considered a department hero after surviving being shot in the head nearly 30 years ago, had been battling cirrhosis and Hepatitis C, which he had contracted during a blood transfusion.

On Tuesday, he turned out in support of Mcneill.

"I'm here to support Sgt. Mcneill," he said, "as all the brothers and sisters are doing also."



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