'I don’t understand what made him snap’: Victim, suspect identified in Baltimore methadone clinic shooting

Investigators believe a methadone clinic patient armed with a silver handgun shot a phlebotomist who worked in the same building and a police sergeant rushing to the scene after receiving reports of an active shooter.

A clinic employee was injured as well, but police have not described her injuries or their specific cause.


Baltimore police on Tuesday identified those killed in the shooting Monday at the Man Alive clinic in Charles North. They were the alleged shooter, Ashanti Pinkney, 49, of the first block of W. 20th St., and David Caldwell, 52, of the 500 block of Parksley Ave. And they recounted the efforts of Sgt. Bill Shiflett, 51, a seasoned officer who was about to clock out for the day when he chose to run into the building.

Caldwell was working in the building when he was shot to death. Pinkney was killed in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement, in which Shiflett was seriously injured, according to police.


A 41-year-old employee of the clinic, who was also injured while on the job, was released from the hospital Monday night. Her name was not released.

Pinkney entered the Man Alive clinic in the 2100 block of Maryland Ave. about 7 a.m. Monday with a gun, demanding methadone, according to police.

Investigators believe Pinkney shot Caldwell and Shiflett, Baltimore Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said. It’s unclear who shot the other injured clinic employee. The female employee was “possibly injured during the gunfire by shrapnel or other debris,” Silbert said.

Caldwell’s family members said he worked as a phlebotomist drawing blood and collecting urine samples for LabCorp out of the Man Alive clinic for the past several years. During that time, he expressed concerns about his safety.

“If something happens to me, it’s probably gun-related,” his brother-in-law Layne Keatts Sr. remembered Caldwell saying.

Still, Caldwell was described as a “workaholic" and a caring, loving person who dedicated his life to helping others.

His sister, Charlene Weigman, said Caldwell loved fostering dogs and leaves behind two of them in his Gwynns Falls neighborhood home.

Baltimore police said Shiflett’s overnight shift was just wrapping up when the department began receiving calls for an active shooter at a North Baltimore methadone clinic. He was shot in the abdomen, the bullet slipping underneath his bulletproof vest.


“These guys ran toward danger,” said Maj. Rich Gibson, commander of the Northern District.

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison on Monday publicly praised Christopher Miller and Jeremy Foster, the fellow officers who pulled their injured supervisor to safety.

Gibson said Shiflett was “in very high spirits” Tuesday and met with Miller and Foster.

"He wanted to thank them. He shifted credit to them. He’s very humble and kind,” Gibson said. Shiflett underwent surgeries on Monday, and on Tuesday, he was “up and talking, joking” but still in pain, he said.

The day after the shooting, neighborhood residents who said they knew Pinkney described him warmly and were at a loss to explain what might have motivated him in Monday’s attack. Maryland online court records show he had a spate of drug and theft convictions — though most more than 15 years ago.

Ashanti Pinkney, 49, has been identified as the suspect in the shooting at the Man Alive methadone clinic in Baltimore Tuesday.

Mark Crandall said he met Pinkney five years ago. The two were in a restaurant when Pinkney bought him breakfast.


From there, a friendship formed.

Crandall, from North Baltimore, said Pinkney was like an older brother, “except better.”

Pinkney would always make sure he had a place to stay and sometimes would lend Crandall money. Crandall always knew he would have a cup of hot coffee waiting for him and a spot on the couch.

“I don’t understand what made him snap,” Crandall said.

Crandall said Pinkney had a wife and two children. Multiple people said Pinkney had been kicked out of the methadone clinic within the past week.


Tuffy Cardagena said every morning he and Pinkney would smoke a joint together and talk about life before beginning their day.

Cardagena said his friend turned down the marijuana Monday around 6 a.m. and started acting out of character.

“Nah, man. That’s all yours,” Cardagena remembered Pinkney saying to him.

Cardagena said the two were outside on the street corner by the shopping center talking around 7 a.m.

“You could tell he wasn’t in his right state of mind,” Cardagena said.


His friend was normally smart, the one who would talk him out of making stupid decisions, Cardagena said. But Monday morning, in between laughter and jokes, Pinkney wasn’t making any sense, Cardagena recalled. He was saying “white and black people need to stick together” and “foreigners are taking our land.”

But when Pinkney said he was going to walk across the street to the Man Alive clinic, Cardagena never thought he would go in and shoot.

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The Baltimore man didn’t know it was Pinkney who was shooting inside the clinic until he saw a stretcher being carried out with someone wearing a neon green shirt peeking out. It was the same color Pinkney had been wearing that morning.

“He was a good guy,” Cardagena said. “He always gave you something to think about. I ain’t ever seen him down.”


Maryland court records show Pinkney had repeated misdemeanor drug possession and theft convictions from 1999 to 2004. He served over two years behind bars.

For his most recent conviction in November 2004, he was sentenced to 60 days incarceration for misdemeanor theft, and the prosecution also dismissed drug possession charges against him. He also spent 35 days in jail in 2004 after being found guilty for drug possession in Baltimore City District Court, records show.

Baltimore Sun reporter Lillian Reed contributed to this article.