Police kill robbery suspect in Dundalk, officer in serious condition, bystander wounded

Baltimore County police killed a robbery suspect and an officer was seriously wounded in a midafternoon shootout Wednesday on busy Dundalk Avenue, police said.

A bystander was also shot in the incident near the Logan Village Shopping Center shortly before 3 p.m., police said.

Police said the man robbed two people in the shopping center parking lot, then hopped onto a No. 10 MTA bus.

But he wouldn't make it far: Officers stopped the bus a block away, police said, near the intersection of Dundalk Avenue and Belclare Road. As people shopped for groceries and had their nails done, and nearby schools prepared to dismiss children for the day, the man opened fire, police said.

Officers returned fire, police said. A video posted on Facebook shows a man shooting at police from an MTA bus and then from behind a white van. The incident ended in minutes, with the gunman dead on a lawn.

Police said Wednesday evening that they had not identified the man. They did not release the names of the wounded officer or the bystander.

The officer was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was in serious condition Wednesday, police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said. The bystander was taken to a local hospital. Police said she was expected to survive.

Dave Barrett was in his basement watching television, he said, when he heard gunshots and a helicopter. He flipped on a police scanner and looked outside, he said, and saw a man in a skullcap crouching by a white van and shooting at police.

"I heard boom-boom-boom-boom-boom," he said. "You never want to hear that.

"By the time I came down, you could still see the smoke in the air from all the gunshots."

The man ran up onto Barrett's lawn and collapsed, Barrett said. Hours later, his body remained on the lawn, under a white sheet.

The Facebook video shows a man leaning out of a bus and shooting a handgun at a police car. He leans out of the front door of the bus, and later out the rear door. He appears to have two guns.

A man's voice says passengers have been ordered off the bus. Officers crouch behind a police car as the gunman fires.

The gunman, wearing light-colored clothing and a head covering, runs from the bus and kneels behind a white van parked on the street. A woman runs away. Another person lies behind the van.

Screams can be heard. The video ends with the sounds of a barrage of gunfire.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement he visited the injured officer in the hospital.

"Like all of us in Baltimore County, my thoughts are with those who were injured in today's tragic active shooter incident in Dundalk," Kamenetz said. "After visiting our wounded police officer today, I am particularly grateful for the risk and sacrifice that all of our police officers undertake every day to protect us."

County Councilman Todd Crandell, who represents Dundalk, said he was deeply troubled by the violence in broad daylight.

"It's shocking, and I have a sense of real anger that someone wants to commit something as heinous as that in our community, as senseless as it was," Crandell said. "It makes you angry, but none of those emotions matter right now. The only thing we need to be concerned about is the people who are injured."

Crandell and state Del. Bob Long went to the University of Maryland Medical Center on Wednesday to show the community's support for the wounded police officer. "Our community will have to rally around our Police Department, and we're going to have to heal as a community over this," Crandell said.

Police were called at 2:49 p.m. to the Logan Village Shopping Center on a report of a man attempting to rob two people outside the center, Officer Jennifer Peach said. The suspect boarded the bus, and officers stopped it.

Peach said officers weren't sure yet whether the shootout began on or off the bus. She could not say how many people were on the bus at the time. "At some point during that engagement, the suspect fired shots at the officers," she said. "The officers then returned fire and shot the suspect."

Peach said the wounded bystander was a civilian who happened to be on the street at the time. She said police were investigating whether the suspect got onto the bus to flee or to take control of it.

A spokesman for the MTA said the agency was assisting the investigation and declined to comment further.

Peach said the department was working to determine which officers at the scene were wearing body cameras. She did not know if the officer who was injured was wearing one. Police will review surveillance video from the MTA, she said.

Dundalk Elementary School was put on alert status, county schools spokesman Mychael Dickerson said. During an alert status, instruction continues but students have limited access to the outdoors. Dundalk's school day ends at 3:10 p.m. Students were dismissed without incident.

Anthony Weaver said he was working in his garage nearby when he heard a popping noise that sounded like fireworks. He said he heard a woman yelling "No no no!" and more popping noises.

Weaver said he heard two different types of guns firing and saw a black SUV flying up the alley. Two men ran up the alley and tried to hide, he said.

"I said 'I'm getting out of here,'" Weaver said. "I didn't want to stick around looking."

Tyrone Braxton was on the phone with his sister when she boarded the bus. He said his sister saw the suspect go to the back of the bus and sit down, and then the gunfire began.

Braxton said he ran to the scene once he heard the gunshots. He wanted to "go save my sister. Nothing else matters."

Barbara Barnes was driving with her sister-in-law and saw the police activity. "We knew something bad happened. When you see all these police come by, you know something happened," she said.

Barnes said she was worried that the incident happened in the afternoon at a time when children are getting out of school.

"This world is crazy," she said.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

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