A 29-year-old correctional officer has been charged with fatally shooting his estranged wife yesterday at the administrative offices of the Kennedy Krieger Institute as her co-workers watched in horror.
Those workers today were given time off to deal with their emotional trauma, said Dr. Gary Goldstein, president of the institute.
City police said Michael Hudgins, of the 6000 block of Green Meadow Parkway in Northwest Baltimore, was charged last night with first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony.
The victim, Donna Hudgins, 27, who worked at the institute, which offers help to children with disabilities, recently left Mr. Hudgins. She was living in the 2400 block of Winchester St., a police spokeswoman said today.
Employees of the institute, in the 2900 block of E. Biddle St., told police Mr. Hudgins, a correctional officer at the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, arrived at 4:30 p.m. looking for his wife.
Dr. Goldstein said the suspect entered the building, located more than a mile from the institute's treatment center at Broadway and Monument Street in East Baltimore, after being admitted through a locked front door by a receptionist.
He said Mr. Hudgins was dressed in his correctional officer's uniform.
Police said he found her sitting behind her desk among four cubicles in an office on the first floor.
Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman, said the man pulled a gun and fired several shots. Ms. Hudgins was struck in the chest, neck and face at nearly point-blank range, Agent Price said.
"There were people all around when this happened," he said.
Mr. Hudgins then left, police said.
The victim died at the scene.
Investigators alerted area police of Mr. Hudgins' name and the license plate of the car he was driving.
Baltimore County police arrested him a short time later in the 1900 block of Featherbed Lane in Catonsville, according to police spokesman E. Jay Miller.
Mr. Hudgins was transported to the Eastern District, where he was held pending a hearing today before a District Court commissioner.
His car was towed to city police headquarters, Mr. Miller said.
Dr. Goldstein said Ms. Hudgins worked as a clerk in the billing office of the institute with about 50 other workers. She worked there about a year.
"All the workers there are very upset," Dr. Goldstein said. "We told them all they needn't come to work today so they can deal with their emotions."
He added those workers were referred to the institute's employee assistance program for counseling.
Dr. Goldstein said personnel records showed the couple had no children. He was not aware of any recent legal action taken by either spouse although he was aware they were separated.
A spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said Mr. Hudgins was employed as a prison guard since May 1989.
The Kennedy Krieger Institute each year serves more than 6,000 children with neurological disabilities and trains 150 professionals.