After police shot one robbery suspect fleeing a Northeast Baltimore bar yesterday and arrested the other, the city's new acting police commissioner said the incident showed that the department is taking the right tack in revising its crime-fighting strategy.
Acting Commissioner Edward T. Norris told reporters that police arrived at the bar within 30 seconds of receiving the robbery call because they had been staking out the Belair Road corridor, site of at least five similar robberies in the past two weeks. Residents should expect such "proactive" police investigations, he said.
"We're going to find out where the crimes are occurring and when they're occurring, and we're going to deploy police officers," said Norris, who was appointed March 31 amid debate over a plan to revamp police policies. "This was excellent police work, it appears to me."
Norris said preliminary information showed the shooting to be justified. He said the man, with gun drawn, was approaching an officer and ignored commands to drop the weapon.
The other suspect dropped his gun and surrendered to police, Norris said. He said police are trying to determine whether the men were involved in other robberies of businesses in the area.
Police said they received three calls about 11 a.m. yesterday, including one from Sheldon's Lounge in the 4300 block of Belair Road, telling them that the bar was being robbed. As officers arrived, two men fled from a side door into an alley.
The man who was shot was hit twice, once in the thigh and once apparently in the groin area, police said. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where his condition was not available last night.
Two handguns were recovered.
Officers surrounded the bar -- some crouching behind vans and police cruisers and ordering residents to stay away -- before they determined that no other gunmen were in the building.
Police said three people were in the bar when the robbery occurred. Neighbors said the bar is owned by Nancy Honeycutt. Police escorted a woman, who identified herself to a reporter as "Nancy," from the bar, saying that she was to be interviewed by detectives at police headquarters.
Eric Hester, a bartender and doorman at Sheldon's, said Honeycutt had security cameras installed, and that she might have seen the robbery on a monitor in her upstairs residence.
Police spokeswoman Agent Ragina L. Cooper said she would not comment on whether video surveillance allowed anyone at the bar to alert police.
Neighbors described Sheldon's as a neighborhood bar that is the site of billiards leagues.
"There's never any trouble inside the bar," said Sandy Bornscheuer, who lives on nearby Nicholas Avenue. Pointing to a "no loitering" sign on the building, she said owners "did a good job of keeping the corner clean."
Bornscheuer was one of several neighbors who reported hearing two shots shortly after 11 a.m. Deborah Brown said she was across Belair Road from the bar when she heard the shots, and looked up to see the two suspects in the alley.
"All the police started running toward them," she said. "I saw a whole lot of police over top of them."
Police did not immediately identify the man who was shot. The other suspect, identified as Cecil James Anderson, 26, of the 500 block of N. Milton Ave. was charged with armed robbery, assault and handgun charges and was being held at Central Booking and Intake Center, said Cooper.
David Knight, 31, a Northeastern District patrol officer who has served eight years in the department, was identified as the officer who shot the suspect. Cooper said he will be placed on administrative duty pending a review of the shooting by the city state's attorney's office.
The shooting was one in a series of violent incidents during the weekend.
Police investigated three shootings Saturday, including a double-shooting at a grocery store in West Baltimore and the killing of a man outside a West Baltimore barbershop -- the city's 76th homicide of the year.
Late Saturday, the owner of a downtown liquor store fatally shot a man who, police said, tried to rob the business.
The man, whose identity had not been confirmed yesterday, entered Eutaw Liquors in the 100 block of N. Eutaw St. about 10: 40 p.m., pointed a gun at the owner and announced a holdup, police said.
The owner, Keun Hyung Cho, 29, produced a .357-caliber Magnum handgun and shot the gunman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Police said the dead man had a starter pistol, which was found near his body.
The shooting, which will be reviewed by the state's attorney's office, appeared to be justified, police said, and no charges were filed against Cho.
"This is a very violent city," Norris said. "This weekend illustrates it better than my words can. There's been a lot of bloodshed. That's got to go."