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Baltimore County police shoot man who’d been chopping branches from trees in Rosedale

Police shot a man in the area of Philadelphia Rd & Spring Ave. The man was taken to an area hospital.

Baltimore County police shot a man who they said earlier had been chopping branches from trees and throwing them into the street in Rosedale on Thursday.

The man, whose name was not released, was active and alert when taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for treatment, police said. Police referred to him as a “suspect” but did not say what he was suspected of.

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Officers were dispatched just before 2 p.m. to Philadelphia Road and Spring Avenue, where the man had moved into the middle of the road and was waving “a long, silver chain,” said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a Baltimore County Police spokeswoman.

Warehime said the 911 call reported that the man had a knife or a blade, which police also referenced on their social media accounts, but Warehime would not say whether they recovered a weapon at the scene. Late Thursday night, police confirmed they found “multiple” weapons.

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“We know this behavior is erratic behavior. No one wants to cut down branches in your neighborhood that aren’t yours,” Warehime said. “From the 911 call, the officers knew this was not normal behavior and that weapons were involved.”

Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Sgt. Vickie Warehime said an officer shot a suspect in Rosedale. October 8, 2020
Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Sgt. Vickie Warehime said an officer shot a suspect in Rosedale. October 8, 2020 (McKenna Oxenden/Baltimore Sun)

In an updated news release Thursday night, police said when an officer arrived at the scene, he exited his patrol car and ordered the man to sit. The man ignored commands, police said, and started running at the officer, who told the man to stop. The officer moved backward but the man continued to come forward and then the officer fired his weapon.

The man was struck in the upper body, ran down the block and collapsed in the area near a shopping center, police said. No officers were injured.

Officers aided the suspect, who was transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center by responding medics, conscious and alert.

The preliminary investigation revealed the suspect was initially dropped off at the hospital for a mental health evaluation but never went inside and instead got on a bus and got off in Rosedale, presumably on Route 7.

Warehime said the man will be facing a “plethora” of charges, but she did not elaborate.

“It wasn’t that person’s property," Warehime said. "We don’t know if there were any victims from him swinging the chain. Was there some sort of assault? This is all part of the investigation.

“If there are weapons involved, and the officer had to draw a weapon, there are probably going to be more charges involved.”

As the shooting took place, members of a House of Delegates work group held an online meeting to discuss policing reforms — including limiting when officers can shoot people or use other force and studying whether some 911 calls should be handled by responders other than police officers. State lawmakers are expected to focus on policing reforms during the next General Assembly session.

During the recent national reckoning on policing and racial injustice, advocates have called for funding to be transferred from police budgets to pay for more mental health resources and emphasize de-escalating techniques.

Warehime declined to provide details about how officers approached the situation or if any de-escalation techniques were used. She said it would be a “great question for tomorrow” and cited the ongoing investigation.

Baltimore County Police investigators gather near a crime scene in Rosedale on Oct. 8, 2020.
Baltimore County Police investigators gather near a crime scene in Rosedale on Oct. 8, 2020. (McKenna Oxenden)

Warehime did not say how many shots were fired. Police are reviewing body camera footage of the shooting, she said. Officials are also looking for more information from neighbors as well as any cameras in the area.

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Hours later, the chain the man had been waving lay on the street between two cones and a fire truck. A few hundred feet ahead sat another cone, with blood spatters beside it.

Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt was at the scene as detectives and crime-scene technicians investigated.

Two cones on Spring Avenue marked the locations of bullet casings near a white police car at the scene.

Emily McCord lives and works about a block away and said she came outside only when she heard a helicopter flying around.

The 25-year-old, who has lived there about a year, walked up toward the scene and was surprised to see dozens of officers cordoning off the area. She hadn’t heard a single siren.

“It’s eerily quiet,” she said. “And we didn’t hear anything.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

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