Baltimore police officers exchanged fire with an armed suspect almost immediately after they walked into a grocery store in North Baltimore last month, beginning a lengthy, chaotic gunfight that sent customers scrambling and employees screaming and crying, according to video of the incident released Thursday.
Body cam footage of several Baltimore police officers exchanging gunfire with a suspect who was later identified as 34 year-old Dontae Green.
Approximately three and a half minutes of body-worn camera footage provided by the department shows the two officers — identified as Wesley Rosenberg and Daniel Jensen — enter Compare Foods on The Alameda Jan. 30 and ask someone about what was happening, then turn around and see the suspect, Dontae Green, 34, apparently pointing his gun at them.
After ducking behind what appears to be cash registers at the front of the store, the officers exchanged several shots with Green as people inside the store duck for cover.
Jensen is able to exit the store through the front door and request backup. However, after Rosenberger checks on another person inside the store, he finds an emergency exit locked and runs upstairs leading to what Deputy Commissioner Brian Nadeau describes in the video as a manager’s office on the second floor, with shots ringing out behind him. Green can’t be seen directly in either Jensen’s or Rosenberger’s body camera footage.
Inside the manager’s office, Rosenberger continues to fire as people take cover in front of him, eventually reloading his handgun while a woman can be heard screaming “Let me out!” nearby.
After responding to Jensen over the radio that he is still inside the store, Rosenberger then shoots down the office’s stairwell twice before someone alerts the officer that it’s not Green at the bottom. A person inside the manager’s office with Rosenberger tells the officer “he works here” before a man is then seen walking up the stairs with one arm down at his side, but still holding a cell phone.
Luis Peralta, a supervisor at the grocery store, was shot in the arm during the incident and told The Sun that when he opened the door “that’s when I got shot, exactly” and believes the officer mistakenly shot him as he walked up the stairs.
Police have not confirmed his account.
The footage captured by Rosenberger’s camera ends shortly after the man enters the upstairs office.
Jensen’s camera footage is largely outside of the store, as he holds the perimeter of the front of the building while calling Rosenberger on his radio to see if he’s been injured. He does not re-enter the building, but can hear the gunshots being exchanged between Rosenberger and Green.
Green managed to run out of the store, police said, which is not seen in the footage released Thursday.
Police have said the two officers are on routine administrative leave as the department investigates the incident.
Breaking News Alerts Newsletter
As it happens
Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
Green, 34, was hired as a guard at the store after it opened up last year and was supposed to be armed only with pepper spray at the time of the shootout.
Police said that Green became “enraged” over an inaccurate paycheck, causing others to call police to report he was armed with a weapon inside the store.
Co-workers, however, said that Green became upset after he dropped $500 cash on the floor and couldn’t find it, believing a cashier to have taken it.
Valencia told The Sun that, prior to the shootout with police, Green pointed a gun at a woman’s ribs in the front of the store and demanded that employees at the store either play footage recorded on security cameras to determine what happened to his money or return the money.
Someone called 911 during the incident and Valencia said that employees took $500 from an office upstairs and handed it to Green before instructing him to leave. When Green turned around to leave, Peralta said, he saw the officers and fired first.