Baltimore Police officers shot and killed a man after an exchange of gunfire early Monday, officials said.
Officers were called to a home in the 6000 block of Alta Ave. in Northeast Baltimore around 9:13 p.m. Sunday for an assault. Police encountered a man who they believed was armed and possibly having a behavioral health crisis, according to Deputy Commissioner Sheree Briscoe.
Police negotiators were brought in and made contact with the man. Two people were evacuated from the home. It’s unclear if anyone else was inside during the shooting.
Briscoe said the man came to the door and opened fire on police officers who fired back, killing him, around 3 a.m.
No officers were injured.
“We are grateful that more individuals were not hurt — individuals in the home, other neighbors or police officers,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said at the scene. “We will continue to make sure that this investigation is happening with the appropriate pace and attention. We just ask that the entire city wrap their arms around this neighborhood and this family.”
Adrienne Breidenstine, vice president of policy and communications for Behavioral Health System Baltimore, said that Baltimore Crisis Response Inc.’s crisis response team did not respond to the scene because the man was said to be armed and potentially have taken hostages.
The organization’s crisis response team operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available for officers to call to assist with incidents involving behavioral health crises.
Additionally, the Baltimore Police Department’s internal crisis response team — which consists of five specially trained police officers and one social worker — was unavailable to respond to the call because it operates from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The department is currently training all of its officers in crisis intervention techniques.
Breidenstine added that the SWAT team called in to handle the situation had additional training on handling behavioral health crises.
Monday’s incident is the fourth fatal shooting by police in Baltimore so far this year.
In February, US marshals attempting to serve a warrant shot and killed a man who fired on them in Sandtown-Winchester. A few weeks later, police shot and killed a man in an Inner Harbor parking garage who had wounded a civilian and pulled his gun on officers. Most recently, in mid-May, police shot and killed a 49-year-old man after he threatened a family member with a knife in his Broadway East home.
Residents described the Glenham-Belhar neighborhood where Monday’s shooting took place as typically calm and quiet. The scene of the shooting was near a small park, and Glenmount Elementary/ Middle School.
“First, I’d like to send my condolences out to the family and friends of the individual who lost their life in this unfortunate incident,” said Baltimore City Councilwoman Danielle McCray, who represents the area. “This case is still under investigation, and as the facts are being developed the police department will provide more information about what took place this morning.”
As the morning drew on, residents on morning walks meandered past the scene, many just waking up to the news. Several asked that their names not be shared due to concerns over safety, and the uncertainties surrounding the shooting.
One resident said they arrived in the neighborhood just after midnight Sunday, and saw swarms of police cars and officers blocking Alta Avenue and surrounding streets. When they got home, they slept in their basement with their children, so that they’d be away from windows where stray bullets could injure them.
Chelsie Vanarsdale, a three-year resident of the neighborhood, was out walking her dog Monday morning when she heard a broadcast journalist telling the story on air.
”I haven’t experienced anything like this,” she said. “So it’s just a little bit of a surprise.”
Jenny Hamilton, vice president and secretary of the Glenham-Belfar Community Association, said she heard from residents this morning who were confused about the reason for the street closures Monday morning. Police blocked a section of Glenmore Avenue, in addition to Alta, where the shooting took place.
The association’s meetings typically include a police department liaison, Hamilton said, and group members will likely ask questions about the shooting there.
“I anticipate in our next meeting, this will be a topic of discussion, and we trust that the liaisons will be present to answer questions,” Hamilton said.