Baltimore Police Sgt. Bill Shiflett’s overnight shift was just wrapping up when the department began receiving calls of an active shooter at a North Baltimore methadone clinic.
As acting supervisor and ranking officer for his district Monday morning, the 25-year veteran could have decided to supervise his department’s response and let others charge in. Instead, Shiflett led officers Christopher Miller and Jeremy Foster into the Man Alive clinic. They were met with gunfire.
“These guys ran toward danger,” Major Rich Gibson, commander of the Northern District, said Tuesday.
Shiflett was shot in the abdomen, the bullet slipping underneath his bulletproof vest during an exchange of gunfire with Ashanti Pinkney, 49, at the Man Alive clinic in the 2100 block of Maryland Ave., police said.
“He was first and engaged the suspect,” Gibson said. He said Shiflett fired multiple rounds stopping Pinkney.
Police named Pinkney, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital, as the shooter. They said he was allowed into the clinic Monday where he pulled a gun out and demanded methadone. Officers recovered a handgun at the scene, police said.
Also shot and killed was David Caldwell, 52, a LabCorp employee working at the building, police said. The department said a 41-year old woman working at the clinic also was injured during the incident, and she has since been released from the hospital.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison on Monday publicly praised Miller and Foster, the fellow officers who pulled their injured supervisor to safety.
A University of Maryland Medical Center spokesman said Shiflett remains in serious condition Tuesday.
Gibson said Tuesday he visited Shiflett at the hospital and he is “in very high spirits." Shiflett underwent surgeries Monday and, by Tuesday, he was “up and talking, joking” but still in pain, he said.
Gibson said Shiflett also met with Miller and Foster.
"He wanted to thank them. He shifted credit to them. He’s very humble and kind,” Gibson said.
Gibson said Shiflett’s wife and teenage daughters also have visited him in the hospital.
Shiflett’s brother, Roger Shiflett, posted Monday on Facebook, asking “please pray for our family along with the deceased suspect’s family as well."
Shiflett’s family could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Gibson said Shiflett was assigned to the Northern District about three years ago as a sergeant. But for more than a year, Shiflett has been serving as the midnight shift supervisor, which is normally reserved for a lieutenant.
He said Shiflett stepped up in the role, serving as a mentor to young officers and a model to other supervisors who emulate his leadership style.
“He does a great job,” said Gibson, describing Shiflett as well-respected among officers. “He’s a model supervisor,” Gibson said, adding that he wishes the department had more supervisors like Shiflett.
Shiflett was recently named in a lawsuit, but the case was dismissed. He was accused of fabricating facts in a statement of probable cause that led to Haywood Boone IV’s arrest, according to lawsuit filed by Boone. His attorney argued that body worn camera footage showed a different sequence of events than the one Shiflett described in an initial statement of charges against Boone.
But a judge dismissed the case in Shiflett’s favor earlier this month, according to online court records.
Attorneys for Shiflett and Boone did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
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Before going to the Northern District, Shiflett served as an observer for the department’s aviation unit, riding in the police helicopter serving as the eyes in the sky.
Shiflett was featured in a 2003 Baltimore Sun article describing how he and his pilot, Dave Curci, watched as a man carjacked a woman and drove off in her car with her 3-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl.
“We both had lumps in our throats,” Shiflett said in the story. “It’s a frustrating thing to know somebody needs help and you can’t get down to help them, very frustrating."
Police officials credited Shiflett and his pilot for their actions in the pursuit that ended in Anne Arundel County, where the children were located unharmed.
Before joining Baltimore Police, Shiflett served in the U.S. Army and later for the Air National Guard between 2002 and 2013, a U.S. Air Force spokesman confirmed. He served in Iraq and received a campaign service medal, according to military records.
Since Monday’s shooting, Gibson said many residents have expressed their gratitude for the officers’ actions. Some have dropped off homemade cakes, flower cards at the police station, while others have come in to thank officers, he said.
“The outpouring of support from the northern community is overwhelming,” he said.