WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Update on the January 20th, police-involved shooting of an armed suspect.
Baltimore Police said two men, including one who was shot in the leg by an officer early Saturday, were arrested and charged for handgun violations.
Police spokesman T.J. Smith said at a news conference Monday that the officer fired after the gunman failed to put down his weapon. The officer, who was not identified Monday, was among a group of officers who were confronting a group of men who had been seen on city surveillance cameras arming themselves.
“The officers were able to get there quickly before anything worse than that occurred,” Smith said, adding the officers also recovered three handguns. “During that incident, one of the suspects was shot.”
Police identified the man who was shot as Brian Campbell, 20, of the 300 block of Wickersham Way in Cockeysville. He is charged with misdemeanor offenses including carrying a handgun.
Police said at 3:15 a.m. Saturday, a Citiwatch camera operator saw five males, and at least three of the men received handguns from someone in a sedan. Officers were then called to investigate the group, which began walking down Park Avenue. Smith said it is unclear where the group was headed.
“We know at this point, three are armed with guns,” Smith said.
When patrol officers arrived at the scene, at Park Avenue and Clay Street in the central part of the city, the men fled in different directions, police said. Two men who were not armed did not run from the officers, Smith said. One of the gunmen threw his gun into an alley and one threw his into a dumpster, Smith said.
Smith said Campbell ran north to the 200 block of W. Mulberry St., where an officer fired a single shot, striking him in the leg. Police played a portion of the officer’s body camera footage, in which the officer can be heard yelling “drop it,” and shows him fire across the street before sprinting around a parked car.
“Get away from the gun,” the officer yells several times.
Campbell can be heard howling as he lay on his side, with the gun near his body. The officer, who continues to hold his gun, grabs the loaded handgun and moves it away from Campbell.
Smith said the officer fired as the result of Campbell not giving up his gun.
“The opportunity was aplenty for him to drop his weapon but he chose not to do it,” Smith said.
Campbell did not fire at officers.
Police also charged Omari Hart, 20, of the 2400 Brambleton Road in Mount Washington, with carrying a handgun.
Neither Hart nor Campbell have attorneys listed in online court records.
Smith said the officers are still working to identify the third gunman, who ditched his weapon during the chase.
“These people were likely up to something...We don’t know everything that was going to transpire but luckily whatever it was, was interrupted,” Smith said.
Breaking News Alerts Newsletter
As it happens
Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
He said the guns had not been reported as stolen but said they were not properly registered.
Smith said the officer who fired his weapon is a seven-year veteran of the department assigned to the Central District. He said the officer has been placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation.
It was the second time in a week that police opened fire in the downtown area after confronting armed men. On Jan. 16, police interrupted a 7-Eleven robbery, in which at least one officer and one gunmen exchanged fire but no one was injured.
Last year, there were five officer-involved shootings, four of which were fatal, according to the department’s website.
At the news conference, Smith also announced the arrest of a 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old boy who were charged as juveniles in connection with assaulting a cat and then setting it on fire in Northeast Baltimore in December. The department released surveillance still photos last week that captured five young males wanted in the incident. Smith said investigators are still trying to identify the other three.