Baltimore police are searching for a man who they say barricaded two people inside a home Friday and then lit it on fire — resulting in the death of a 61-year-old woman who was unable to escape the blaze.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis identified the suspect as 59 year-old Alan Lorenzo Floyd, and during a Friday news conference dubbed him the latest "Public Enemy No. 1."
The woman — who police did not identify — was found dead inside a home in the 2300 block of E. Madison St., east of Johns Hopkins Hospital, after firefighters responded shortly before 2 p.m. for a single alarm fire at the home.
"A man walked to the side of this building and used some sort of accelerant, doused the place with that accelerant, blocked, barricaded the door," said police spokesman T.J. Smith.
Two people were inside, stuck behind the door, he said. One was able to escape, but the woman died. Smith said she would be publicly identified after her family was notified.
"She appeared to be an unintended target of this incident. This appeared to be some sort of ongoing dispute between the suspect and possibly another party who was at this house," Smith said.
Her death marks the first homicide in 2016 after one of the deadliest year's in Baltimore history with 344 people killed in 2015.
"We need the community to help us locate this man who killed one person today and nearly killed another," Davis said. "It is our collective duty and responsibility to work together to make 2016 an extraordinarily better year than 2015."
Smith said the motive in the case is unclear. Homicide and arson detectives were investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives, at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.
Michelle Johnson, 48, said she was visiting her daughter, who lives next door, when the fire started. She said she and other family members had just ordered a pizza when they heard a loud noise.
"We heard a big boom like an explosion," she said.
Johnson said her granddaughter went to the door and saw smoke coming from next door unit, and they rushed to get out of the house.
Asia Anthony, said her son, Robert Green, 23, tried to kick in the door of the rowhouse on fire, but it was blocked, she said. "He was holding her hand, trying to get her out," Anthony said.
The family waited outside the home while police and fire officials responded to the scene Friday afternoon. A neighbor gave Anthony a coat and a pair of socks, while her son wrapped himself in a white blanket. A 1-year-old who Anthony was watching was in diapers inside the police cruiser. Anthony said she was changing him when they ran from their house.
"My landlord is out of town so I don't even know what we are doing tonight," she said. "This whole holiday season was just a wreck."