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Laurel officials say police-involved shooting inside market was 'unintentional'

Laurel officials say police-involved shooting inside market was 'unintentional'
Laurel city officials said Monday that a police officer shot a suspect at a market on 4th Street late Sunday. (Courtesy City of Laurel / Baltimore Sun)

Laurel officials say the shooting of a 20-year-old man inside a Laurel market on Sunday by a police officer investigating a burglary alarm was "unintentional."

Neither the officer nor the injured man was identified Monday by police, though city officials said the officer is a 17-year veteran of the Laurel Police Department and a firearms instructor.

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He was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, officials said.

The injured man underwent surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, police said.

Audrey Barnes, director of communications for the city of Laurel, said officers were responding to a tripped burglary alarm at Indus Food International Market at Fourth Street and Montrose Avenue shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday when they encountered a teenager who refused police commands to stop.

Barnes said an officer used a Taser on the teen, who was taken to a hospital and later released to his mother.

As police entered the market to search the premises, an officer fired his gun after being startled by "movement in the dark" just inside the door, Barnes said.

Barnes said the officer transferred his gun "from one hand to the other" as he opened the market's back door. "He is startled, jumps back a little and his weapon discharges," she said.

The man, who was on top of a stack of steel metal inside the building, was hit.

Barnes said nothing was taken from the market. No charges had been filed as of Monday evening.

Officials did not say whether the officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting. Laurel police have used body cameras since 2013.

Indus opened Monday for its regular hours.

Yawar Hamid, the store's owner, said the store closed at 7:30 p.m. Sunday and he left a half hour later. "At 11:08, I got a notification on my phone that somebody was trying to break in," he said.

Sunday's incident wasn't the first at the store. According to Barnes, market was broken into in November and December, with losses of $5,000 and $8,000, respectively.

"The last two times, I didn't have a surveillance system or an alarm system," Hamid said.

Ray Dockery, who lives across from the market, said he heard "a bang, a gunshot or a pop" Sunday night.

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"This is probably the first that I've heard of anything" happening in the neighborhood, Dockery said. "It's normally a quiet place around here from what I've seen."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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