Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy J. Altomare asks the shooting suspect to surrender.
Police have arrested the man suspected of shooting and wounding two detectives late Wednesday night, ending a daylong manhunt that locked down a suburban peninsula in northern Anne Arundel County.
The Anne Arundel County Police Department announced shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday that someone is in custody.
We have a person of interest in custody in reference to the shootings of our detectives. We do not believe there is any further threat to our community. We THANK YOU for your support and patience! We will give further when we can, investigation still on-going.
“We do not believe there is any further threat to our community,” the department wrote on Twitter.
Both wounded officers were taken to a hospital and are now expected to survive, though one’s injuries initially were considered life-threatening.
On Friday morning, police identified the man accused of killing a man in Glen Burnie and shooting detectives Wednesday as Joseph Robert Mitchell Willis, 22. The Pasadena man is currently charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in Anne Arundel County.
Court charging documents said Willis will face another charge of attempted first-degree murder but in Baltimore City because of one of the detectives shot was bordering Anne Arundel and city lines. Charges have yet to be filed in that case, according to online court records.
Stoney Beach resident Connor McManus had been watching the police activity on and off all day in his neighborhood, where the second officer was shot overnight. Things had quieted down since the early morning hours right after the shooting, but around 2 p.m. police flooded back into the area, he said.
The 25-year-old said he watched SWAT members run into the cul-de-sac of the 1300 block of River Bank Court with large guns. He heard three loud bangs as officers forced their way into a home only a block away from where the detective was shot.
Shortly after the bangs, McManus said he watched as officers put Willis, a white man who fit the suspect’s description into a police car.
“You could tell all the cops loosened up after he was put into the car,” McManus said.
A group of neighbors, many who watched the arrest unfold from their homes or heard the booms from blocks away, stood alongside the crime scene tape, stunned that the suspect seemingly had been hiding out in a neighborhood home.
Thursday’s manhunt began Wednesday in Glen Burnie when homicide detectives were called around 5 p.m. to the 600 block of Newfield Road for a man found dead in his home. Sgt. Jacklyn Davis, an Anne Arundel Police spokeswoman, said the victim showed “upper body trauma” that was later determined to be a gunshot wound. Police identified the victim Friday morning as Christopher Lawrence Jones, 44.
Two detectives in separate police vehicles located the Jones’ stolen car around 11 p.m. on the Anne Arundel County-Baltimore City line on Fort Smallwood Road near a Royal Farms gas station, Davis said.
Det. Scott Ballard attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but Willis allegedly fired and struck the officer, police said. Willis then drove away.
Det. Ian Preece pursued the stolen, Davis said, chasing him into the Stoney Beach townhouse community where Willis allegedly shot multiple rounds, injuring Preece. The vehicle Preece was driving crashed into the stolen vehicle and at least two others in the neighborhood.
Willis jumped out and ran away, but police appeared not to realize that immediately.
Joe Palazzi heard the crash outside his Stoney Beach house at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday. He ran down the stairs and opened the door to police lights. The suspect’s car had crashed into his two cars and pushed his Jeep into his front lawn.
Palazzi watched from his window as police with guns drawn positioned behind their vehicles and observed the suspect’s car for over an hour until the SWAT team arrived, he said.
The SWAT team then shot out a couple of windows and searched the car.
“That’s when they discovered no one was in the car,” Palazzi said.
Police and the SWAT team then searched the neighborhood on foot throughout the night, Palazzi said.
At least 50 officers canvassed the area and talked to neighbors who witnessed parts of what happened.
Ballard’s injuries were originally life-threatening, but “fantastic” emergency care mitigated the situation, Anne Arundel Police Chief Timothy Altomare said. “He has remarkable courage. I’m very proud of him.”
Ballard, a 22-year veteran who works on the fugitive apprehension team, is in critical but stable condition.
Preece is in stable condition. He is a 13-year veteran who is assigned to the homeland security investigations team, which also handles gang investigations in the county.
Officer O’Brien Atkinson, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, was in the waiting room of the hospital where the officers were taken. He said there was a large contingent of officers coming in and out of the hospital to show support. “Both officers are well revered in our agency,” he said.
“We are very happy and lucky” that both officers survived, he said.
As the manhunt unfolded, police advised residents to remain in their homes and Anne Arundel County Public Schools closed schools in the county’s Northeast cluster — High Point, Riviera Beach, Solley and Sunset elementary schools, as well as Northeast High School and George Fox Middle School — for the day because of the ongoing search.
Altomare urged at a Thursday morning news conference that the suspect to turn himself in.
“Come in and end this lunacy before another person gets hurt,” Altomare said. “Every minute you stretch this out it makes it more dangerous for my cops and thus makes it more dangerous to you."
Corner of Ft Smallwood and Greenland Bch. A lot of guns, a lot of dogs, a lot of police presence as officers search for the suspect who is accused of shooting two detectives. pic.twitter.com/KZs890FCGz
Officers swarmed an area of Greenland Beach at Fort Smallwood and Hilltop roads Thursday morning with barking dogs, guns and cars looking for the suspect. Hilltop Road — the only way in and out of Stoney Beach — had been closed to anyone except police officers since early Thursday morning.
During a tense 20 minutes, at least 10 officers filed into the second floor of a building above a laundromat and corner store, C-Mart Tobacco. They banged on a door several times, shouting “County police open up!” at least six times.
They emerged with no suspect.
Joe Palazzi a Stoney Beach resident, talks about what he witnessed after a police chase ended in a suspect's car crashing into his.
Debbie Bonanno found a bullet in her front yard Thursday morning.
Bonanno, who lives two doors down from Palazzi, had just fallen asleep when she woke up to the sound of gunfire and heard a “boom” from the suspect’s car crashing into Palazzi’s Jeep. She, too, watched the scene from her window.
Police ordered residents to stay inside their homes Thursday as they searched the area.
“It’s unnerving. We’re a sleepy little community. Why he’s down here I don’t know,” Bonanno said.
In Annapolis, state Senate President Bill Ferguson acknowledged the officers’ shooting and asked senators to keep them and their families in their thoughts.
“This gun violence is striking too close to home everywhere,” said Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat.
We have absolutely no tolerance for the violence committed against two Anne Arundel County Police detectives last night. These brave officers are now in stable condition, and all Marylanders are praying for their full and speedy recovery.
Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted that all Marylanders are praying for the officers.
“We have absolutely no tolerance for the violence committed against two Anne Arundel County Police detectives last night. These brave officers are now in stable condition, and all Marylanders are praying for their full and speedy recovery.”
Anne Arundel County Police spokeswoman Jacklyn Davis talks about the ongoing investigation after two police officers are shot.
Charis Taylor said her rental home on River Bank Court was one of two locations raided by police Thursday. But Taylor said she doesn’t know why police raided the property.
“At this point, I don’t have a lot of information. None of my family is involved. There were two homes that were raided,” she said.
Taylor said she was not sure whether the suspect was taken from her rental or the other home.