Baltimore police investigate a police involved shooting in the 6300 block of York Road.
Baltimore Police shot and killed a man who they said lunged at officers with a gun Wednesday in the parking lot of a Rite Aid pharmacy near the county line.
Detectives had been searching for John Feggins, 24, to question him about an armed robbery three weeks earlier at the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. About 9:30 a.m., police located Feggins parked alone outside the Rite Aid in North Baltimore and one officer ordered him out of the vehicle.
"The subject lunged at the officer with the gun in his hand,” Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said. “There was a struggle that ensued, and that struggle took them both to the ground.”
A backup officer arrived as the two men wrestled over the gun, Harrison said. The commissioner watched videos of the encounter.
“You see them on the ground, struggling, and the officers are attempting to disarm them,” Harrison said. “Both of our officers discharged their weapons.”
Police shot the man, whom they identified late Wednesday as Feggins, in the parking lot of the strip mall at York Road and Gittings Avenue. The nearby North Baltimore neighborhoods have been spared much of the gun violence that grips the city. Shoppers were startled to encounter the sirens and rush of officers. Neighbor Zach French-Moore was walking to have a prescription filled at Rite Aid when he heard the bangs.
“I heard what sounded like an engine backfire,” he said. “I saw about 30-plus police cars come zooming up this way.”
Feggins was loaded into an ambulance and driven to a hospital. French-Moore said he saw the ambulance rush past, escorted by two police cars. Investigators shut down the strip mall as they marked evidence scattered in the parking lot. They placed a yellow marker at one sneaker left behind on the pavement.
A woman rushed up to the police tape a short time later.
“I’m his mother! I’m his mother!”she cried out. “What happened?”
Bystanders gathered to watch as investigators worked. Some said they heard two shots and saw paramedics load the man and drive away.
None of the police were shot, but Harrison said one officer had a tooth knocked out during the scuffle; another suffered scrapes and bruises.
“The officer was very professional, very poised," Harrison said. “The officers were doing their job: They were engaged, following up on a lead.”
The lead came from detectives from the Regional Auto Theft Task Force. Detectives had been searching for Feggins since a robbery Oct. 9 in the parking garage at the Horseshoe Casino. Police called him a “person of interest” in the robbery.
On the fourth floor of the casino’s garage, a robber pulled a gun on a driver and made off with a cellphone and cash, police said. Wednesday morning, police located the car the robber allegedly used at the Rite Aid; dispatchers sent a patrol officer to the parking lot.
Surveillance cameras and the video cameras worn by officers captured the encounter, Harrison said. The department’s Public Integrity Bureau is conducting a routine investigation. The department policy adopted this year allows Harrison to take up to seven days to decide whether the will release the video footage publicly.
Prosecutors charged Feggins with a Baltimore County carjacking back in 2012. The case was later dropped but the then 17-year-old was found guilty on a robbery charge and sentenced to eight months in prison and 18 months probation. A year later Feggins violated his probation by missing a meeting with his officer and failing to provide proof that he was enrolled and attending court-mandated drug treatment.
Wednesday’s shooting is the fourth involving a Baltimore police officer this year. Offices have killed three other men.
In August, the department said, 13 police officers opened fire on Tyrone Banks, who days earlier allegedly shot at one officer and attempted to run over another with his SUV. Police said they recovered 154 shell casings from the scene but have not said whether Banks shot back. One officer was wounded and hospitalized, but quickly released. Ray Maier, a bystander driving home, was injured.
In July, Sgt. Bill Shiflett and a second officer, Christopher Miller, fatally shot Ashanti Pinkney, 49, at a North Baltimore methadone clinic after an exchange of gunfire, according to police. Shiflett was wounded, and David Caldwell, 52, a LabCorp employee, was fatally shot by Pinkney inside the building, police said. Another woman was injured by shrapnel.
In March, Kevin Bruce Mason, 57, was shot by an officer after an hours-long standoff with police. Police said an officer fired believing Mason was armed, though police never found a gun.
City police shot four people last year, two of whom died.