A Baltimore Police officer was shot early Sunday morning while he was dispersing a large party in West Baltimore, according to City Council President Brandon Scott.
Scott wrote in a statement that the unnamed officer was shot “as he and other officers were attempting to disperse a large party."
Police said the officer was in stable condition after being taken to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center for surgery.
In the wake of ongoing social distancing guidelines still in effect throughout Maryland, the shooting highlights the difficult task of policing during the coronavirus pandemic, Scott said.
“Since the beginning of COVID-19, our officers have worked non-stop to ensure the safety of Baltimoreans,” Scott wrote. “It is irresponsible and disappointing that people continue to put their own lives — and our entire community — at risk by having gatherings during a public health pandemic.”
The department wrote in a tweet at 4:32 a.m. that the officer was shot in 2300 block of Winchester Street in the Bridgeview/Greenlawn neighborhood of West Baltimore.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the suspected gunman was arrested at the scene and that the wounded officer aided in the arrest.
“Even though our officer was shot, with the help of another officer, the two of them were still able to subdue this subject and take him into custody without injuring that suspect,” Harrison said. “We are certainly proud of their actions today.”
Police did not provide further details and did not identify the suspect.
Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 president Mike Mancuso said on Twitter the officer was out of surgery and in “stable condition” about 7:30 a.m.
The officer is the second to be wounded in the line of duty in the past month. A city officer was shot in Federal Hill on May 26, which led to a manhunt for the suspect. Officer Joshua Jackson suffered non-life-threatening injuries and issued a call for unity online after he was released from the hospital. The suspect was arrested two weeks later.
The Sunday incident marked the second shooting this weekend that involved reports of mass gatherings. Five people were injured early Saturday morning in Fells Point.
Councilman Zeke Cohen said Saturday’s shooting took place after large crowds had been allowed to gather at Broadway Square. He wrote on Facebook that he saw “a gunman who had no regard for human life” shoot “indiscriminately on a crowd of young people.”
The councilman has spoken with the police commissioner and City Solicitor Dana Moore about large crowds despite city orders limiting social gatherings, calling it "a major problem.”
Harrison and Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young noted that the Sunday shooting took place against a backdrop of continuing protests around the country sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody May 25 in Minneapolis.
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“This speaks to the courage and bravery of our officers during very tough and tumultuous times," Harrison said. "In spite of what’s going on here and everywhere in the country the members of the Baltimore Police Department continue to serve, continue to protect and continue to do what is necessary to keep the people of Baltimore safe.”
Young, speaking outside Shock Trauma, said, “This is a tough job, especially when around the country they’re talking about defunding the police department. I fully support our police officers who come to work every day and put their lives on the line to make sure we’re safe in the city of Baltimore. I’m just looking forward to a speedy recovery from this officer.”
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement: “Officers in Baltimore City risk their lives every day to protect us, and especially so in the wake of COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer who was shot early this morning as we wish him a speedy recovery. We will continue to investigate the incident and will comment further when we can.”
Organizing Black, the Baltimore-based group that organized a Friday demonstration during which street artists painted a “Defund the Police” mural in front of city hall, wrote on Twitter on Sunday afternoon that their position has not changed and that “abolish the police is the goal.” (Warning: Link contains explicit language)
Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Dance and content editor Nick DiMarco contributed to this article.
This story has been updated to reflect the correct date of when Officer Joshua Jackson was shot.