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Baltimore Police say they block traffic, use helicopter to assist ambulances on trips to hospital

Baltimore police swarmed to Summerfield Ave in Northeast Baltimore after an officer was shot outside his home. When police officers are injured on duty, they receive the same help getting to the hospital as anyone else, local departments said.
Baltimore police swarmed to Summerfield Ave in Northeast Baltimore after an officer was shot outside his home. When police officers are injured on duty, they receive the same help getting to the hospital as anyone else, local departments said. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

When a veteran police officer was shot outside his Northeast Baltimore home earlier this month, the department’s helicopter, Foxtrot, hovered above, helping units on the ground avoid traffic as they sped to the hospital.

Whenever one of their own is injured — and, police spokesman Detective Donny Moses said, whenever any shooting victim is transported to the hospital by ambulance — at least one Baltimore police car travels with the ambulance to help alert other drivers and allow the ambulance to pass.

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“With every shooting victim, there’s always a car that follows,” the ambulance to the hospital, he said. “If traffic is bad, [the patrol cars] will block traffic. If it’s not bad, [the patrols cars] will just follow.”

After Carrington was shot outside his home on Summerfield Avenue on Aug. 8, Moses said, patrol cars followed that procedure, although they did have help from Foxtrot. Transporting him to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center near downtown, the ambulance traveled on Interstate 95 to avoid clogged intersections it would have encountered traveling through the city, Moses said.

Foxtrot advised the ambulance and patrol cars about possible delays and tipped them to go through tube 2 of the Fort McHenry Tunnel to avoid more vehicles, Moses said.

The department does not close roads for any victims, including cops, Moses said. Traffic will be briefly stopped at intersections to allow the ambulance to pass on routes to the hospital, he said.

“We blocked traffic [for Sgt. Isaac Carrington]. We don’t shut down roads,” Moses said.

Carrington was released from the hospital Wednesday and moved to a rehabilitation center. Police have not made any arrests in the shooting.

Injured officers are almost always taken to the Shock Trauma. As a result, the Central District, which includes downtown, is notified of the route, Moses said.

Sgt. Bill Shiflett, another city officer who was shot in July during a shootout with a man at a methadone clinic in Old Goucher, also was taken to Shock Trauma. The shooter, Ashanti Pinkney, died in the shooting. Shiflett has been released from the hospital.

After Detective Sean Suiter was shot in 2017, however, he was transported to the hospital in a patrol vehicle, which got into an accident en route. Suiter was then transferred to an ambulance and taken to Shock Trauma, where he was later pronounced dead.

Baltimore County Police spokesman Cpl. Shawn Vinson said that when Officer Amy Caprio was struck and killed by a vehicle in 2018, she was taken to MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Rossville and no roads were shut down.

“As a safety practice, a patrol car will follow a medic unit in case the medic unit needs assistance,” said Vinson, describing a practice identical to that of Baltimore City police.

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