Suspect in custody after holding 4 hostage at Baltimore Burger King

After a nearly five and half hour standoff police arrest an armed man suspected in an alleged rape who took four people hostage — including a 7-year-old girl — inside a Baltimore Burger King after evading police Sunday. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)

An armed man suspected in an alleged recent rape took four people hostage — including a 7-year-old girl — for hours Sunday inside a Baltimore Burger King, where he had barricaded himself following a police pursuit across the city that ended in a car crash, authorities said.

After hours of negotiations, the man released the first two hostages one at a time, authorities said, then surrendered to police with his hands in the air and walked out of the Carroll Park restaurant with the last two hostages just before 5 p.m.


Keysha MacKall, mother of 7-year-old Kamya Commander, said she was relieved her daughter and the other hostages were unharmed. Kamya smiled as she stood next to her sipping a Slurpee.

"It's been like hell," MacKall said. "My nerves was all over the place. ... I'm just glad she's fine. She's here."


The arrest of the unidentified suspect brought an end to a 51/2 -hour standoff in the hot Sunday sun that prompted Baltimore Police to request SWAT reinforcements from Howard, Harford and Anne Arundel counties. Police said charges are pending.

Officers initially tried to stop the man to serve him an arrest warrant on the northwest side of the city about 11 a.m., when he sped off and led police on a chase to Washington Boulevard and South Monroe Street, police said.

The man's car crashed into another car at the intersection about 11:30 a.m. and ran inside the fast food restaurant, where he barricaded himself and the hostages, police said.

The driver of the other car sustained minor injuries and was treated at a hospital, police said.

Tactical units lined up, guns drawn, along the restaurant's exterior wall Sunday afternoon. An officer with an assault rifle ordered bystanders to clear Carroll Park. Police taped off the crime scene a block away, and the Foxtrot helicopter circled overhead.

The owner of the Burger King franchise paced anxiously along the police line. He declined to be interviewed.

Three others were taken hostage with the girl, police said: a 67-year-old customer and two female employees, a 17-year-old and 25-year-old.

"We're very fortunate this situation ended peacefully," Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said.

The 17-year-old was released about 1:45 p.m., police said. Then came the release of the 67-year-old shortly before 2:30 p.m.

The suspect made clear in the negotiations that he did not want to hurt any of the hostages, Smith said. Police negotiators were in "constant communication" with the man, Smith said, and his family members assisted by speaking to him over the phone during the standoff.

"He made the decision to do the right thing and that was not to harm anyone," Smith said. "He absolutely had the opportunity to do so, but he chose not to do so."

Ryan Weinberger, 29, of Glen Burnie, said he was in the dining room as the suspect ran into the restaurant.


"Don't come in here!" the suspect yelled repeatedly after running from the crash, Weinberger said.

The man appeared frantic and was talking on a cellphone, Weinberger said.

Weinberger said he had stopped at the Burger King for lunch on his way home from dropping his sister off in Pigtown.

Weinberger said he heard the crash and walked over to the window to take a picture of it when he realized that police were surrounding the restaurant and the man who'd run in was armed.

He was one of three customers who escaped through a side door after the suspect came in through the front, he said.

"One of the customers grabbed me and said, 'Get out — run,'" Weinberger said.

A young girl with pigtails had been playing a game on an iPhone behind the counter while Weinberger ordered his burger, milk shake and onion rings, he said.

Police said Kamya was related to an employee, but they did not say who. They did not identify the other hostages.

"As soon as I got out, I called my girlfriend," Weinberger said. "We have a child together. I was so thankful. I could still be in there."

"You only see this stuff in movies," he added. "It's scary, all those SWAT cops, as many cop cars as I've seen in my life."

Valerie MacKall, of Cherry Hill, Kamya's great-aunt, was trembling as she arrived. She was relieved to hear the suspect had surrendered and her grandniece was safe.

"I'm going to hold her and tell her I love her, and everything's going to be OK," she said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.

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