A man stopped by police while riding a bicycle through East Baltimore's Johnston Square neighborhood Friday afternoon was shot by officers after he tried to flee. Police said a gun was recovered from the scene.
The shooting occurred in the area of Preston and Wilcox streets about 2 p.m., and residents said they believed police did not need to fire on the man.
Latasha Chavez, who said her 22-year-old son was the man who had been shot, was trying to find out where he had been taken for treatment. "The police was chasing my son and shot my son, and now they won't even give me no information," Chavez said. She eventually climbed into a car headed toward Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez, who leads the Police Department's Professional Standards and Accountability Bureau, said at the scene that officers from the plainclothes Special Enforcement Section had been deployed to the area "for high visibility and to target ongoing crime in the area."
"They came across an individual on a bicycle, and elected to initiate a stop and question the individual," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the suspect, whose name they did not confirm, tried to flee and then produced a handgun. He said officers found a revolver at the scene. The officers were not immediately identified.
The incident was the sixth police-involved shooting this year.
City prosecutors said Friday that officers had been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in all but one of the earlier shootings, with one still under investigation. They declined to provide documentation of the closed cases, saying it would compromise pending charges against suspects involved in the shootings.
In Johnston Square, residents expressed frustration with police, derisively speaking of "knockers" — a term used to refer to plainclothes officers known for jumping out of vehicles and stopping people.
Caprice Miller said her 2-year-old son was outside playing when police opened fire.
"He could've lost his life," she said of her son, whom she scooped up and fell on top of to protect him from possible stray bullets.
Alco Marshall, 42, said he saw the officers' initial attempt to stop the man on the bike and said he had lifted up his shirt and said he didn't have anything on him, but then took off. He heard the shots fired, describing at least three distinct "pows."
twitter.com/justin_fentonCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun