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Man shot by Baltimore Police on Christmas Day charged with attempted murder

A 59-year-old man shot by police on Christmas Day is being charged with multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly firing on officers, Baltimore Police said Monday.

Officers were called to the home of Barron Coe, in the 4100 block of Crawford Ave., at about 4 p.m. Saturday for a report of a family disturbance, police spokeswoman Amanda Krotki said. While speaking with officers, police say Coe “indicated the possibility of explosive devices being in and around the house.”

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A short time later, police say Coe produced a silver Davis Industries .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun and that officers fired on him, striking him multiple times. Police initially said Saturday night that Coe had fired on officers first.

A box with tubelike structures, wires and a power source was found at the scene and later determined to not be an explosive, police said Monday.

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Coe was listed in critical but stable condition and will be charged if and when he is released from the hospital, police said.

Neighbors told The Sun that they had been concerned about Coe, who for years had signs referring to religion and politics displayed on his home and in the yard. He advertised monthly livestreams on Facebook, where he talked about being watched and harassed by the government.

Police did not deploy mental health crisis teams to the scene on Saturday, and could not explain why when asked about the situation on Monday. City officials have been working to divert calls for people in behavioral crisis to mental health counselors, and police have a small team paired with clinicians or social workers who jointly respond to high-risk situations.

Baltimore Crisis Response Inc., which the city has been working with to improve the Police Department’s handling of mental health-related calls, said they were not contacted by police, and that the situation was likely too dangerous for their workers to get involved.

Still, BCRI said it would have been willing to offer assistance.

“... We would not have sent a crisis team but would have been willing to work closely with BPD regarding an appropriate response,” BCRI’s executive director Johnathan Davis said in an email.

Police have said the call was dispatched as a disturbance and as a behavioral crisis. Krotki said Monday that Coe’s mother indicated once officers arrived that he may have a firearm.

In dispatch audio archived on the Broadcastify website, an officer can be heard saying that Coe was firing at police after being wounded.

The officers involved were identified by the department as Sgt. Steven Evans and Officers Casey Miller, Devon Galanos, Lamont Woodard, Nydia Rios-Arroyo and Charles Thomas. Evans has 17 years of service with the department; the other officers all had four years or less of time with the department.

The department typically waits a week to release body camera footage.

The victim’s mother spoke briefly to The Sun on Monday, saying she did not want to provide comment. But she indicated the family was upset with the way police handled the shooting, saying they were trying to find a lawyer.

The case highlights a continued challenge for police responding to such behavioral crisis calls. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has said in the past that it is police, not social workers, who must respond to cases where a person is said to be armed and dangerous.

In a similar call that ended with a man being shot last summer, Harrison noted that medics stayed outside out of safety concerns. But Adrienne Breidenstine, of Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore, said of that same incident that body camera video showed “mental health professionals should have been involved with the response, along with police and EMS,” and called the incident “a total failure of our two systems.”

The Police Department has previously said it planned to give about 30% of its patrol staff crisis intervention training, a 40-hour course.

The Christmas Day shooting was the seventh this year by city officers, eclipsing last year’s total. It’s the most since 2016, when officers shot 11 people. Still, this year’s total is down significantly from the period of 2005 to 2013, when police shot an average of 18 people per year, according to data maintained by The Sun.

Prosecutors have reviewed and declined to charge officers in five of last year’s shootings, spokeswoman Zy Richardson said. All of this year’s shootings by officers remain under review.

Neighbors told The Sun that they had been concerned about Coe . A large banner hanging on the home where the incident took place read: “If a crowd says go left and God ask [sic] to go right what will u do?” and a picture of the home on Google Street View from 2019 showed signs referencing Presidents Obama and Trump, and Citibank.

Coe regularly posted livestream videos on Facebook in which he talked about being harassed by the government, citing “dragnet 24 hour surveillance that has gone to the Nth degree.” In a Dec. 11 video, he said in the new year he would be reaching out to Michelle Obama, Melania Trump and Jill Biden for help. He appears frustrated but calm in the videos.

About two hours before the shooting, he posted “happy holidays to all.”

Sun reporter Christine Condon contributed to this article.

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