A Baltimore man was sentenced to 147 years in prison for shooting a firearm at four Baltimore County police officers following a police chase into Elkridge, authorities say.
“Violence in our community will not be tolerated, and any violence against law enforcement deserves the full weight of our justice system,” said Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson in a statement. “I hope that today’s sentence, handed down by the court, will act as a deterrent to anyone who thinks this kind of lawlessness will be permitted in this space.”
In July, Justin Lee Buchanan was found guilty by a Howard County jury of attempted second-degree murder after fleeing from Baltimore County police officers and firing shots at them in Howard County last year.
Buchanan was also found guilty by the jury of first-degree assault, weapons violations and various traffic offenses.
Baltimore County Police said on May 21, 2020, officers were in Lansdowne searching for Benjamin Lemon who was wanted for a shooting in the county two days earlier.
Lemon hopped in the rear passenger seat of a black 2014 Acura RX that was being driven by Buchanan.
Officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop and Buchanan fled, police said, and officers started to pursue them from Baltimore County into Howard County.
Just before 2:30 p.m., multiple shots were fired from the car toward the officers who returned fire and sought cover in the 5700 block of Furnace Ave. in Elkridge.
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Buchanan, and the front seat passenger Kevin Tyler Kelly, 26, were taken to Shock Trauma in critical condition. Lemon was not injured and was taken into custody for the separate shooting. No officers were seriously injured.
Investigators recovered a handgun at the scene as well as multiple used cartridges inside the Acura. Buchanan’s DNA was also later found on the gun.
In a victim impact statement, the Baltimore County police officers at whom Buchanan shot noted that the incident occurred on the two-year anniversary of the death of Amy Caprio, a Baltimore County police officer who was killed while responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle in a Perry Hall cul-de-sac in May 2018. She was 29.
“The tragedy that took place on May 21, 2018, still weighs heavily with all members of the Baltimore County Police Department as well as their families,” the statement read.
Dawnta Harris, a 17-year-old convicted in 2019 of felony murder in Caprio’s death, was sentenced to life in prison. Three other teens involved in an incident leading to her death were handed a 30-year prison sentence.
“Police officers wear a shield,” Howard County Circuit Court Judge Richard Bernhardt said during the sentencing, according to a news release. “It doesn’t protect them; it makes them a target.”
In 2014, Buchanan was convicted of a felony possession with intent to distribute and in 2010 was convicted of unlawful possession of a regulated firearm, police said, making it illegal for him to be in possession of a firearm and ammunition.