A manhunt is underway after a policeman was shot in the 1000 block of Light St. in Federal Hill late Tuesday night and taken to Shock Trauma, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said.
Harrison said in an 11 p.m. news conference that the suspect is considered “armed and dangerous” and that his whereabouts are unknown.
The police commissioner also said that thanks to a bulletproof vest, the officer is in non-life-threatening condition. The commissioner said Shock Trauma surgeon Thomas M. Scalea gave him a “good report” about the Central District officer. The bullet grazed the side of the officer’s abdomen and did not hit any organs, Harrison said. The officer is likely to be treated without surgery.
The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, citing its president, Mike Mancuso, tweeted that the officer is alert and talking. Harrison said although he has not seen the officer due to the hospital’s revamped coronavirus protocols, Major Daryl Gaines told the commissioner that the officer is in “good spirits” and flashed him a thumbs up.
The commissioner said that around 9:25 p.m. an officer on routine patrol saw someone driving erratically near Light and Lombard and Pratt streets and tried to pull him over, believing the individual may have been intoxicated. After the officer flipped his sirens and lights on, the vehicle fled, Harrison said.
The officer followed the vehicle for several blocks before it crashed into a parked car.
The suspect fled and the officer exited his patrol car and “courageously” followed the suspect, Harrison said. At some point, the suspect then turned and fired at the officer.
Harrison said the suspect carjacked a blue Toyota Camry, with somebody inside, to get away after shooting the officer. There is “good information," Harrison said, to support that belief because of the number of citizen calls the department received.
Harrison warned that, though it hasn’t been confirmed, police have reason to believe the suspect carjacked a second vehicle.
“I want to thank the citizens of Baltimore who stepped up in a timely manner and gave us that information,” Harrison said. “We owe them our gratitude.”
Shortly after the shooting occurred, police vehicles could be heard rushing through the South Baltimore peninsula, particularly near Fort Avenue and McHenry Row in Locust Point. But Harrison said at the news conference: “we do not have any idea about the whereabouts” of the suspect.
“What we need now more than ever is anyone who saw something or heard something or knows something to please call us right away,” he said. “There is a suspect on the loose who is armed and dangerous and has fired and shot a police officer.”
Shock Trauma advised the police department that, because of coronavirus concerns and restrictions, officers should not go to the hospital, the FOP tweeted.
After the shooting, Baltimore police K9 officers canvassed the crime scene at Light Street near East Montgomery Street in Federal Hill. Officers had taped off several blocks of the thoroughfare in the South Baltimore neighborhood.
The area lined with lively bars and restaurants was mostly quiet Tuesday night.
Later Tuesday night, the police department’s helicopter hovered over the Locust Point neighborhood.
Groups of officers were stationed every few blocks along Fort Avenue, down toward Fort McHenry, as the search continued for the suspect into early Wednesday morning.
Shootings over the Memorial Day weekend in Baltimore City left nine dead and five others injured.
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young issued a news release late Tuesday night decrying the bloodshed and thanking the police for their commitment.
“The level of violence on our streets is completely unacceptable and won’t be tolerated,” wrote Young, who is running to retain his office. "Our public safety officials, and in particular our police officers, deserve our gratitude and thanks for placing themselves in harm’s way each and every day. I have been in constant contact with Commissioner Michael Harrison, and we are both thankful to the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department.”
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott praised the “brave” police officers who put their lives on the line every day, even during a pandemic, and said an event like this is a grave reminder about the potential danger.
“My prayers are with the officer and his family during this difficult time, and I wish him a full and speedy recovery,” the mayoral candidate said in a tweet. “Baltimore is a city where violence still plagues us even during a global pandemic.”
Thiru Vignarajah, a Federal Hill resident and another mayoral candidate, also denounced the ongoing violence.
“Tonight’s events remind us that the gun violence plaguing Baltimore impacts every zip code, some more regularly than others," he wrote in an email. "We are following developments closely and praying for the safety of all officers who put themselves in harms way.”
Anyone with information about this incident and/or suspect is asked to contact the police or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7lockup.
Baltimore Sun reporters Bill Wachsberger and Ulysses Muñoz contributed to this article.