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Police kill man in running gun battle in Canton

Two women also shot in incident, possibly by man who died

By Jessica Anderson and Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

9:02 AM EDT, April 20, 2013

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A running gun battle that broke out late Thursday night between Baltimore police and a suspect after a domestic incident in Canton left one man dead, two women shot and a quiet Southeast Baltimore street rattled.

Police worked Friday to unravel the circumstances surrounding the overnight incident. It was the year's eighth officer-involved shooting and the second in which a suspect died.

Officers responded to call about a disturbance at a house in the 3400 block of Foster Ave. just before midnight. Moments later, other officers heard gunfire in the area and began to chase the man they believed responsible.

A 42-year-old Baltimore resident, who was not immediately identified, was killed in the exchange of gunfire, said Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman. Two women who had been engaged in the dispute with the man also were shot: a 28-year-old in the ear and a 22-year-old in the arm, Guglielmi said.

While police are "operating under the belief" that the women were shot by the man before his encounter with officers, detectives are "combing through ballistics" and reconstructing the scene to make sure they weren't hit by officers' bullets, Guglielmi said.

No police officers or other civilians were injured, he said.

Neighbors said they were terrified as the incident unfolded.

"It was really scary," said Elizabeth Lina, who lives a few doors down from where the shooting occurred. "We don't unusually have that kind of problem here."

She recalled hearing a shot, "a lady hollering," and then many more shots. Fearing stray bullets, she ran into the middle room of the home she's lived in for 50 years.

Uniformed police officers initially responded to the Canton home about 11:45 p.m. Thursday for a call about a disorderly man, Guglielmi said. They handled the disturbance between the man and two women, one of them his wife.

Minutes later, officers heard gunshots in the same area. Outside the home, the man confronted the officers with a gun, Guglielmi said.

"They [got] into a running gun battle in the neighborhood, multiple shots were fired and officers struck the suspect," Guglielmi said. The gunfight took place in an area outside a few houses on the block, he said.

Three officers fired their weapons, Guglielmi said. He said it was unclear how many shots they fired.

Police believe the women were shot by the man before his exchange of fire with the officers but "are also exploring whether they were shot in relation to the suspect's confrontation with police," Guglielmi said

Lina said she does not know the neighbors at the house where the incident occurred, but she hadn't noticed any disturbances there until Thursday night.

Norma Hrica, who lives on Highland Avenue, was sipping coffee and doing a crossword puzzle in her kitchen when she heard arguing though her open back door. She said she head a man say, "How could you do that to me?'"

"Not long after that I heard what I thought was fireworks. I looked up the street and saw a guy holding a gun," Hrica said.

She ran from her front door and hid at the top of her basement stairs. After waiting a bit and not hearing more gunfire, she came out and saw a man lying on the sidewalk.

"When I opened the door, he was already down," Hrica said. She pointed to a bloodstain on the sidewalk where she said his head had been.

Lina said she went outside after the gunfire and saw numerous police cars on her block. She and other neighbors said they saw men in handcuffs. Guglielmi said he could not provide information about whether there had been arrests.

The incident started in a rowhouse across from Archbishop Borders School on Foster Avenue. A few drops of blood remained on the sidewalk alongside a few pieces of gauze Friday morning. Around the corner on Highland Avenue, a remnant of yellow police tape was left behind, but few other signs of the shooting were visible.

The officers involved in the incident have not been identified. They have been placed on routine administrative duty pending the results of an internal investigation.

The eight police-involved shootings this year have wounded nine people, two of whom died. Last year there were 15 police-involved shootings the wounded 15, nine of whom died.

Thursday's incident occurred during a violent night in Baltimore in which at least two other men were killed and several people were wounded by gunfire.

In the second overnight killing, police responded to the 2700 block of Jefferson St. in McElderry Park and found an unidentified man with gunshot wounds facedown in the street, Guglielmi said. He was pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital about 1:25 a.m. Friday.

Three hours later, officers found Jerrel Key, 29, lying on the sidewalk at McCulloh and Presstman streets in the Druid Heights neighborhood. Key, who had suffered several gunshot wounds, was pronounced dead at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police were investigating two other shootings Thursday night — a man in the 400 block of N. Robinson St. in the Ellwood Park/Monument neighborhood and a woman at West Patapsco and Janice avenues in the Lakeland neighborhood. Both were expected to survive.

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

krector@baltsun.com

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CORRECTION: An early version of this article gave the incorrect location of Canton. The neighborhood is in southeast Baltimore. The Sun regrets the error.

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