A gunman in a Lexus sped through traffic while spraying bullets at police and passersby during a chase that stretched through West Baltimore for nearly half an hour Friday.
By noon, his girlfriend had enough.
When he stopped the car and opened the door, she rushed into the street, bear-hugged the gunman and dragged him out, said Chief T.J. Smith, the Baltimore police spokesman. She pinned her boyfriend down as the Lexus rolled away and officers rushed up.
Her intervention brought a peaceful end to a violent run that left two civilians shot and wounded. One officer was struck by the Lexus and hurt during the arrest. The chaos was broadcast live by TV news crews.
“It’s absolutely insane. Absolutely crazy. What possessed this guy to do this? I have no idea,” Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. “This could have been much, much worse.”
During the chase, the woman — whom police have not named — was pleading with her boyfriend to surrender. They agreed to meet across from Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore.
“Girlfriend likely knows he’s coming to intersection, runs to car and pulls him out,” Smith wrote online. “Officers then quickly move in and arrest suspect.”
Police have not identified the 30-year-old gunman from Baltimore. But they said he’s suspected of a triple shooting Thursday afternoon that left a 37-year-old man dead and two people wounded in Southwest Baltimore. They said he’s also suspected of a shooting last week that wounded one person on Edmondson Avenue.
“If we would have let this guy go, just imagine the damage and the destruction of life that would have ensued,” Davis said. “I’m just glad he’s in a pair of handcuffs.”
Officers found a handgun and assault rifle with an extended magazine in the Lexus, Smith said.
The violence began Friday morning when officers pulled over the driver of the Lexus at Reisterstown Road and Fulton Avenue in West Baltimore. Police had been searching for the car in connection to Thursday’s triple shooting.
“When officers first encountered him, he was compliant and they were able to approach the vehicle,” Smith said. “Then the occupant took off.”
Smith said he opened fire on the officers while driving away and missed them. They shot back and missed. They exchanged gunfire at Fulton Avenue and Mosher Street in Sandtown-Winchester.
“It doesn’t appear that they struck the suspect or anyone else,” Smith said.
The gunman sped away and officers pursued. Within minutes, a police helicopter was trailing the Lexus. From inside the car, its windows tinted darkly, the driver continued shooting.
The chase went on nearly 30 minutes. Police said the driver was firing indiscriminately, wounding a man in his leg on West North Avenue in Walbrook.
Two people were shot at and missed in Central Park Heights, Smith said. Nearby, at Wabash and Rogers avenues, a man was shot inside a car and critically injured. The passenger was not shot, but suffered cardiac arrest, Smith said.
The driver shot again, missing a police officer.
“He’s firing and striking these civilians as he’s being chased by police,” Davis said.
The gunfire struck buildings and cars, too. Other drivers crashed while trying to escape the violence. Detectives were deployed later to city hospitals to ensure there were no more victims.
“He jeopardized the entire city today,” Davis said. “Hopefully no one else was struck by his errant, reckless gunfire.”
The driver continued even after a front tire fell off the Lexus. The rear bumper was hanging off when his girlfriend intervened at Gwynns Falls Parkway and Reisterstown Road, dragging him from the car.
The Lexus, unoccupied, drifted forward, coming to rest on a curb as police officers swarmed over the gunman as he lay in the street, wrapped in the arms of his girlfriend.