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Man killed in shootout with U.S. marshals in Baltimore was grocery store security guard wanted after exchange of gunfire Saturday

Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief at University of Maryland Shock Trauma speaks about the shooting of a federal deputy while serving a warrant

A 34-year-old man was killed and a member of the U.S. Marshals Service was critically injured Thursday morning in an exchange of gunfire in West Baltimore while police were serving an arrest warrant, police said.

U.S. Marshals Commander Don Snider said the deputies were trying to arrest Dontae Green around 6:45 a.m. in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood when he said Green opened fire from inside a closet. The deputies shot back, he said, and Green was struck. Green had been wanted since Saturday.

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Police Commissioner Michael Harrison confirmed that Green was the grocery store security guard who exchanged gunfire with police Saturday and was able to get away. He was facing charges of attempted murder and robbery.

The wounded marshal, who was not identified, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with serious injuries; he was recovering from surgery and on life support, officials said.

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“We’re very hopeful, but you just never know,” said Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician in chief at Shock Trauma. “It’s just too early.”

The injured deputy marshal is a member of the special operations group, and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Snider said.

A medic treated Green, but, Snider said, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Those who are going down and trying to track these folks down who want to recklessly act with firearms in our city are heroes,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.

On Saturday, Baltimore Police said the shooting at the Compare Foods store in the Alameda Marketplace stemmed from a security guard there being “enraged” over the amount of his paycheck.

But a store manager, Luis Valencia, said Thursday the guard was actually angry over $500 cash the man apparently dropped, demanding that store personnel help him locate it. As the man started walking out the door, police, who were called to the scene, arrived and shots were fired, Valencia said.

Police had responded to a barricade situation involving Green in January 2018 at the same North Mount Street address where Thursday’s shooting occurred. In that incident, police said at the time that Green barricaded himself in a bedroom while armed, and they were able to talk him out. He was arrested, though charges no longer appear in online court records.

As police gathered outside of the row home where the firefight took place Thursday morning — close to the Gilmor Homes public housing project — a construction crew worked in the rubble of one of the complex’s demolished buildings. Neighbors milled about, some frustrated with the web of caution tape encircling the neighborhood, sealing off parked cars and shops.

Jason Campbell, 39, woke up to head to his job at the Dollar General store Thursday morning, and found caution tape blocking his path.

”I couldn’t go my normal route,” he said.

A Baltimore Police forensics team enters the house on N. Mount Street in West Baltimore where a U.S. Marshal was shot while serving an arrest warrant for attempted murder and armed robbery. The suspect was shot and killed according to police.
A Baltimore Police forensics team enters the house on N. Mount Street in West Baltimore where a U.S. Marshal was shot while serving an arrest warrant for attempted murder and armed robbery. The suspect was shot and killed according to police. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

Word of what had happened spread quickly in an unsettled neighborhood, as passersby greeted each other in the cold.

”I grew up in this neighborhood. I played in these projects,” said Lynette Mack, 50. “It wasn’t like this when we was coming up.”

Over the years, Mack said, she’s grown fearful as a result of gun violence in the neighborhood, which was the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest in 2015. Gray died after he suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.

”It’s getting to the point where I won’t even let my daughter just walk across to the store by herself,” Mack said.

Inspiring the community’s young people, she said, is the way forward.

A U.S. Marshal hugs a woman at the scene on N. Mount Street in West Baltimore where another Marshal was shot while serving an arrest warrant for attempted murder and armed robbery. The suspect was shot and killed.
A U.S. Marshal hugs a woman at the scene on N. Mount Street in West Baltimore where another Marshal was shot while serving an arrest warrant for attempted murder and armed robbery. The suspect was shot and killed. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

”These kids around here have dreams. Some of them have no dreams. We need something more for our kids,” she said.

In his remarks, Scott recognized the wounded officer but also the effect such incidents have on the community.

“We want to also pray for everyone impacted: the families, the community that’s going to be traumatized by a situation like this,” Scott said.

Officials said the officers executing the warrant Thursday morning knocked before making entry. There are ongoing efforts in the legislature to either ban no-knock warrants or restrict them to last resort.

Thursday’s shooting comes on the heels of two FBI agents in South Florida being shot and killed while trying to apprehend a person accused of child pornography.

The shooting also comes one year after two officers attached to the Marshals Service were shot and wounded in Northeast Baltimore. In that case, Michael Marullo, a 33-year-old former Maryland corrections officer, was killed after opening fire on a squad attempting to apprehend him on a warrant for a shooting in Pennsylvania.

The officers, one shot in the abdomen, recovered.

And in November, a Baltimore police officer working on the Warrant Apprehension Task Force fatally shot a suspect while surveilling a fugitive at the intersection of North Ellamont Street and Westwood Avenue. Police said the shooting suspect pulled up at the intersection in a vehicle around that time, got out and fired into the officers’ vehicle, striking one unnamed officer in the upper thigh. The officer returned fire, killing the suspect, police said.

The repeated incidents are a reminder of the gun problem plaguing America, said Natasha C. Pratt-Harris, criminologist and associate professor at Morgan State University.

“There’s this reality that our society has put some type of value on having a gun,” Pratt Harris said. “And then that means our law enforcement will have to respond, like fight fire with fire.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.

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