Police shoot and kill auto theft suspect in White Marsh after chase

Baltimore County police chased a stolen car to a suburban cul-de-sac in White Marsh early Tuesday and shot a suspect to death in the woods nearby, police said.

The chaos roused neighbors in the development nestled between Interstate 95 and Philadelphia Road. Baltimore County officers were pursuing a Toyota Corolla reported stolen from Baltimore that struck a police cruiser and another car, police said.

Officers were combing the streets of the development when one found 19-year-old Briatay McDuffie and, after a struggle, fatally shot him, police said. Police arrested two others but did not release their names on Tuesday.

The officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries, police said. The shooting is under investigation. The officer, who is to be identified later this week, is to be placed on routine administrative leave.

"At this point, detectives do not know what transpired between the suspect and the officer that led up to the shooting," spokesman Cpl. John Wachter said.

McDuffie, of the 4200 block of Sheldon Ave. in the city's Belair-Edison neighborhood, had been on supervised probation since June for auto theft in Baltimore, according to a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Spokesman Mark Vernarelli said McDuffie complied with his reporting requirements but the agency is conducting a "thorough review."

Court records show McDuffie was also charged in December for theft of a motor vehicle and other charges.

Police said the chase Tuesday began about 12:30 a.m., when officers on patrol on Philadelphia Road attempted to stop the Corolla. The car had been reported stolen in Baltimore the day before.

The driver fled, police said, rammed a patrol car and after a brief pursuit crashed into an orange Ford Edge SUV parked on Madge Court.

Neighbor Michael Ayd said he awoke to sirens early Tuesday morning but didn't give it much thought until he saw the red and blue lights through the shades of his bedroom.

He said three men jumped out of the Toyota, running between his home and his neighbor's, and more officers arrived to join in the search for them.

The suspects ran about a quarter-mile through the quiet cul-de-sacs linked by Smiloff Road, police said, to a wooded area behind a home in the 5500 block of Kathryns Court that backs up to Interstate 95.

McDuffie struggled with the officer and fought a police dog before the officer shot him, said Lt. Robert McCullough, another spokesman.

Rosalie Wise said an officer came to her door and asked her to turn her lights on. She said the officer told her that "they had a shootout in the back."

Her neighbor, Mark Hauf said the men ran through his back yard, which backs up to about 50 yards of trees to I-95, where he said the shooting occurred. He said he did not witness it.

"We live in the middle of a cul-de-sac. If you spent a day here, you see maybe two cars go by," Hauf said. But he remembered several instances in which police searched the woods for suspects — including the 2000 hunt for Joseph C. Palczynski who was wanted in several killings.

His neighbor, Andrew King, awoke to the buzz of a police helicopter and the sirens of cruisers.

"Being in such close proximity to 95, people want to run into those woods every so often," he said. But he added, "there's a fence you would have to scale to get to 95."



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