A Baltimore police officer was stabbed early Saturday after responding to a domestic incident at an apartment building housing mostly University of Baltimore students, police and school officials said.
The officer had responded to The Varsity on West Biddle Street when he was stabbed in the face and neck, police said. James Goss, 20, was taken into custody at the scene. He faces 12 charges, including attempted murder and assault.
The officer was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where his condition was listed as serious but stable, police said. The department did not name the officer but said the 15-year veteran is married and has a young daughter.
Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis called the incident "a violent attack by a deranged knife-wielding predator."
"Nearly stabbing to death and disfiguring a police officer is not an acceptable outcome for police officers who respond to 911 calls for service and otherwise protect this great city," Davis said.
Police said the officer is a uniformed patrol officer from the Central District, who along with a second officer was dispatched at 2:16 a.m. to the apartment building at 30 W. Biddle St.
A building security guard had called police after hearing Goss and a woman fighting in an upstairs apartment. After the guard knocked on the door and identified himself, Goss told him through the door, "If you don't leave I am going to cut you," police wrote in charging documents.
When officers arrived in the lobby, the guard spoke to them and they could see a woman hunched over the balcony, said Maj. Stanley Brandford, commander of the homicide unit. As the officers went to help her, Goss got off the elevator and headed toward the exit.
"Almost immediately, the security guard recognized who he was and yelled to the officer that [Goss] had a knife. By that time, the attack was on," Brandford said.
Goss "viciously" attacked one of the officers and bit the security guard before the other officer and the guard were able to subdue him, Brandford said.
Goss was taken to police headquarters, where detectives said he refused to give a statement. Police wrote in charging documents that he was "acting aggressive and uncontrollable and smelled of alcohol" and asked to go to the hospital. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital for a medical evaluation.
Goss did not have an attorney listed in online court records.
A large butcher knife, a butter knife and other knives were recovered from the lobby, charging documents said.
The woman told police that the argument started over keys to her apartment and that Goss had been staying there for the past two weeks. He punched her in the face and put her in a choke hold when she tried to leave, police said. He then took knives from the kitchen and fled the apartment.
Police said the woman's lips were swollen and her arms bruised.
University of Baltimore spokesman Chris Hart said she is a UB student who lives at The Varsity. Goss is not a student at the university.
The Varsity is privately owned and managed, but attracts mostly students from UB because it is so close to campus, Hart said. The building also houses students from other nearby campuses.
The Varsity's building manager declined to comment.
University officials did not issue an alert when the incident occurred Saturday because Baltimore police did not notify them about the incident until about 11 a.m. Under federal law, it is the responsibility of the Police Department to determine whether there is a threat and to notify the school, which then must notify students and faculty, Hart said.
Christian O'Neill, a University of Baltimore senior who lives at The Varsity, said he was up late doing schoolwork when he heard sirens and came out of his apartment to see police swarming in the building.
"It all happened really fast," he said. "When I walked out of the elevator, there were detectives and officers all over the lobby. All I saw was blood on the outside" of the building.
The building has been quiet because most students are at home for the summer, O'Neill said.
"It was all so surreal. I grew up in Abingdon. I've never seen that much blood that close," O'Neill said. "I love Baltimore, and I know it gets a bad rap and stuff."
He said the incident will only add to the perception that Baltimore is a violent city.
Breaking News Alerts
"It's just one of those things that happen," he said. "It's a shame. The cop was just doing his job."
Davis called the incident a reminder of how police officers sacrifice their safety for others.
"It's important when these things happen to realize the danger that police officers put themselves in on behalf of the residents of this city each and every day," he said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Mary Carole McCauley contributed to this article.