Gunfire shatters quiet of Arundel neighborhood

The Baltimore Sun

In this corner of Severna Park, where the Bradford pear trees are in bloom and the lawns look manicured even in March, neighbors thought the pop-pop-pops were firecrackers, not gunshots.

What they heard was the first of two gun battles yesterday that left a male bank robbery suspect dead and an Anne Arundel County police officer wounded.

Officer Doyle D. Holquist Jr., 32, was released from Maryland Shock Trauma Center after being treated for a gunshot wound to his left thigh. He has been a member of the county Police Department for 18 months. He was with the Baltimore Police Department for two years.

Police did not release the identity of the suspect, who died at the scene. His body, covered by a white sheet, was left on the driveway of a home on Kimberly Court for more than three hours as officers swarmed amid the maze of crime tape and onlookers gathered.

About 9 a.m., police said, a man walked into a Bank of America branch at 601 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. and pulled a hat or mask over his face. Police said he calmly asked for cash without showing a weapon, was handed an undetermined amount and left on foot.

Moments later, a bank manager stopped customer Ed Polk at the door.

"Normally, it's a smile and 'Hey, how you doing?' but she just kind of waved at me, like, 'Don't come close,'" Polk said later. "She looked nervous -- the teller behind her crying -- and then she got on the phone and said, 'We've just been robbed.' Then all the bells and whistles and sirens went off."

Next door at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, where 25 kindergarten students were on the playground, staff members rushed the children inside. Anne Arundel County school officials locked down nine Severna Park schools for almost an hour until they learned that the suspect had been killed.

About 9:10 a.m., police spotted a man matching the description of the robber less than a quarter of a mile from the bank and began chasing him on foot, said Lt. David Waltemeyer, an Anne Arundel County police spokesman.

When police ordered the man to stop just south of Marbury Road, he turned and began shooting at them with a handgun. Officers returned fire, and the man continued running, Waltemeyer said.

About a half-dozen officers pursued the man as he ran through back yards in the quiet residential neighborhood.

Kristyn Ernest, who was filing paperwork at an engineering firm that overlooks Kimberly Court, heard a gunshot, ran to the window and saw a man in bulky winter clothing race across lawns and jump over a fence. When police lost track of him, Ernest said, she leaned out of her window to tell officers the man was hiding behind the brick home at 3 Kimberly Court.

Police cornered the man at the home and again told him to stop and put his weapon down, Waltemeyer said, but he fired again. Police returned fired, killing him, Waltemeyer said. It was during this second exchange of gunfire that Holquist was wounded.

Police found several bundles of money scattered in nearby yards.

Holquist and other officers who fired their guns have been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, which is routine, Waltemeyer said.

Ann Waltman, who has lived on Kimberly Court for nearly 30 years, said she has never seen such violence on the quiet block, where several retirees live.

"I just heard the shots, and I thought it was a car backfiring or fireworks, but then the second time, I knew it was something else," said Waltman, 62, who was watching television at the time.

"I'm shook up," she said. "I'm just thankful that nobody in the neighborhood got hurt."

Though Anne Arundel County statistics were not available, bank robberies statewide are down from a high of 309 in 2001 to 208 in 2005, the last year for which figures were available from the Maryland State Police. Still, recent years' numbers are well above the 151 bank robberies in 2000.

Sun reporters Nia-Malika Henderson, Laura McCandlish and Andrea F. Seigel contributed to this article.

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