Police captured a man Wednesday evening after he barricaded himself inside a beer distribution facility in eastern Baltimore County, bringing to an end a standoff that followed a disturbance at a Kmart and a break-in at an empty home.
The chaos, which led authorities to evacuate two businesses and place nearby Colgate Elementary School on lockdown, lasted most of the afternoon. Authorities initially said the man might have been holding a hostage, but police said they did not find anyone with him.
Officers initially responded to the Kmart in the 200 block of North Point Blvd. in Dundalk just before 2:30 p.m., police said. The suspect, who has not been identified, fled the store and threw a rock through the window of an empty home and broke in. He then left through the back of the house, police said.
He then entered the beer distributor in the 7600 block of Canton Center Drive and refused to come out, according to police. Forty-five people were evacuated from the building.
Earlier in the afternoon, officers from Baltimore County's tactical unit were staging outside the Kmart, where police had taped off the parking lot. Employees and shoppers had been cleared from the store.
Workers from the distribution center remained outside waiting to get back to their cars.
Jason Bixman, 23, from Essex, said he was inside the store filling out a job application when a store employee got onto the intercom telling people to leave.
“It was kind of like a big rush,” he said, adding that uniformed officers told him to leave.
“They had a couple of cops sitting in front of the door, turning people away,” he said.
Autumn Huffman, 18, said her mother had seen a man fleeing down the street. She said he had been bleeding from his head.
Curtis Authenreath, who works at the distribution center, said he saw a young man run past him before the man locked himself in an office by the main entrance of the building.
“He just shot right past all of us,” he said. “He was just holding his neck,” he said, adding he did not see a weapon. “He barricaded himself in the office. ... And then got on the phone.”
Authenreath said he thought many of the employees made it out safely.
Another, a driver, Eric Toney, said he was just coming back from a delivery when he said his supervisor informed him that a gunman had walked into an office at the building and he needed to leave.
Edward Remick, 30, and his sister, Christine, had tried to pick up their children from nearby Colgate Elementary School but said the school had been placed on lockdown.
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.