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'I want him dead': Suspect shot man at Baltimore hospital after 'intimate relationship' ended, police say

A 24-year-old employee of the University of Maryland Medical School is in critical condition after being shot outside the University of Maryland Medical Center at about 7 a.m. Monday. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun video)

A 26-year-old Baltimore man arrested in Monday’s shooting of a University of Maryland School of Medicine employee outside a hospital ambulance bay had been in a relationship with the victim and quickly confessed to the shooting after he was arrested fleeing the scene, according to Baltimore Police.

According to charging documents in the case, Jamar Haughton, the suspect, allegedly told detectives he intended to kill the victim.

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“I wanted to kill him. … I want him dead,” Haughton is quoted as saying in the records. “I shot him in the eye and if he doesn’t die I will not stop!”

The 24-year-old victim, whom officials have not identified, was just east of an ambulance bay in the 600 block of W. Redwood St. when he was shot in the face and buttocks about 7 a.m. Monday, police officials said. He was listed in critical but stable condition Monday night.

University of Maryland police chased Haughton and apprehended him, according to police and court records.

Haughton has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault, and other charges related to the shooting.

Haughton, who is being held without bail, did not have an attorney listed in online court records.

According to the charging documents, police determined through a preliminary investigation of the incident that Haughton and the victim “were in an intimate relationship” but had “separated after some time dating.”

The records say Haughton told detectives he was “upset that [the victim] had left him for a female” and that he had “demanded closure” that the victim “would not provide.”

Police recovered a 9 mm Beretta handgun from Haughton, the records say. The gun was found to have been stolen in Anne Arundel County.

Five weeks before the shooting, on Dec. 31, a judge granted a 27-year-old man a peace order to keep Haughton away from his place of employment at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where Haughton also worked, according to the filing in Baltimore district court.

In the filing, the man said he feared for his safety and alleged Haughton stole photos from his Facebook page and created an account in his name on a dating app. Haughton allegedly wrote on the app that the victim was HIV-positive and was communicating with people, court records state.

In Maryland, peace orders differ from protective orders, which provide relief to victims of domestic abuse. Peace orders apply to victims of other types of abuse, including those who fear harassment, stalking, destruction of property and other harm.

In a statement, a representative of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said Haughton was employed in a facilities position and has since been terminated. The statement described Haughton’s tenure with the organization as brief and did not provide further comment, saying that it was a personnel matter.

The shooting outside the University of Maryland Medical Center’s downtown hospital in Baltimore rattled many in the local medical community.

“I’ve done way too many of these things with you guys,” Dr. Thomas M. Scalea, head of the hospital’s R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, told reporters at a news conference Monday morning. “This one is as close to home as it has ever been.”

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In the wake of the shooting, Alice Cary, the University of Maryland police chief, said the department has increased patrols around the campus that stretches from the medical center to the university BioPark in West Baltimore.

The department has 40 officers and employs an additional 83 security officers who patrol the campus and entrances to the hospital. A separate security force patrols inside the medical center, which is independent from the university.

“In light of what happened yesterday, we’ve ramped up patrols and have extra people out so we’re visible and people can feel safe,” Cary said. “The campus is shocked and people are jittery when things like this happens. We want to be there for the community.”

Cary said officers are trained for any situation that can happen in an urban environment. The officers who apprehended the shooting suspect Monday had been responding to an unrelated fire alarm in a nearby building when they heard shots and saw someone fleeing. They pursued the suspect and caught him a short distance away.

Generally, though, the officers are far more accustomed to dealing with thefts, particularly of cellphones, than shootings. The university reports there was a 21 percent decline in crimes on campus from 2017 to 2018.

Extreme violence inside hospitals is not common.

The Joint Commission, the independent panel that accredits U.S. hospitals, reported that criminal acts were the eighth-most common type of “sentinel event” — in which death or injury occurs unrelated to patient illness — out of 30 categories reported to the commission in 2017, the latest year that data was available. They represented 37 of 805 events that year.

Sentinel events are mostly surgical complications, falls, patient suicides, delays in treatment or other errors that result in death or serious injury.

Cary said the police department must balance between providing security and not seeming threatening to the community. She said community engagement remains a priority, and that the department maintains liaisons to the homeless and the neighborhood at large, for example.

Hopkins officials ultimately decided against extensive new measures such as installing metal detectors at all entrances, saying screening some 80,000 workers and visitors a week would be logistically difficult and unwelcoming. They said, however, they would use “wands” to check visitors during high-risk situations in the emergency room, where gunshot victims and suspected perpetrators can arrive at the same time.

"Hospitals are and must remain places of hope and healing that are open to the public," Hopkins officials said in a statement at the time. "They cannot be turned into armed citadels. Johns Hopkins never closes. Our doctors, nurses and staff took care of our very sick patients even during the crisis."

Hopkins was required to conduct a security review and turn it over to the Joint Commission.

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Monday’s shooting was outside the UMMC hospital near an ambulance bay, so it’s not clear whether the medical center will be required to conduct a similar review. The commission did not respond to request for comment.

Jamar Haughton has been charged with shooting a man outside the University of Maryland Medical Center on Monday.
Jamar Haughton has been charged with shooting a man outside the University of Maryland Medical Center on Monday. (Baltimore Police Department)
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