Seven people were believed shot early Tuesday night in Baltimore after a gunman opened fire on a group of people, and an officer who was passing through the area fired back, police said.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the officer was on patrol around 6:30 in the Madison Park neighborhood when he saw a gunman with a semiautomatic assault rifle open fire on group congregated at the corner of McMechen Street and Eutaw Place.
The officer fired at the suspect, but it was not known how many shots the officer discharged or whether he hit anyone, Harrison said.
“It speaks to the brazenness of the criminal element to do that, but it also speaks to the bravery of the officer to engage like that,” Harrison told reporters.
The shooting occurred during a time when officials are asking people to stay indoors due to the spread of the coronavirus. Police shut down a large area around the nearby Pedestal Gardens Apartment complex, and some people complained of not being able to get back to their apartments. Other onlookers wore surgical masks.
Five victims were transported from the scene, while two other people showed up around the same time at area hospitals. Harrison said police were investigating whether they were struck in the same incident.
A suspect description was not provided by police; Harrison initially told a reporter that the officer had not been interviewed by investigators because he was under investigation for shooting. But a spokeswoman clarified that the officer had indeed provided initial information.
Nevertheless, details around the shooting remained unclear. Harrison said police were interested in a light-colored vehicle, but did not say whether the shooting was a drive-by or if the gunman fled in the vehicle. Officials did not say whether the officer’s body camera was activated, saying it would be part of the investigation.
Harrison said that the Special Investigation Response Team, which investigates police-involved shootings, had been assigned to investigate the case in addition to shooting detectives. Ken Thompson, the lead monitor for the federal consent decree team, also was at the scene.
Before Thompson arrived, three young people had an extended argument with officers about being able to return to their apartment. They held cellphones up within inches of the officers’ faces with the flash activated and challenged them to “do something.” The officers repeatedly told them to move back.
Police did not provide ages for the victims or their conditions except to say that they were “stable” at hospitals. One woman who said she was trying to find her injured son said he was a teenager.