An off-duty Baltimore police officer shot and killed a man who allegedly attempted to rob him in Anne Arundel County early Saturday, county and city police officials said.
County police said Edel Cato Moreland, 32, approached the off-duty officer in the 100 block of Homewood Road in Linthicum Heights about 1:30 a.m. Moreland announced a robbery, police said, and pulled out what appeared to be a revolver.
The officer, a member of the Baltimore department's special operations section, pulled out his service weapon and fired at Moreland, county police said.
Moreland "fled on foot and collapsed in the street a short distance from the location of the attempted robbery," county police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene from what appeared to be more than one gunshot wound, police said.
Police did not name the officer, an 18-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department.
The weapon Moreland had pulled out was recovered and was determined to be "a realistic looking all black toy gun resembling a revolver."
Moreland's older brother, Ulric Moreland, 35, said his family is in shock. He said a robbery would have been out of character for his brother.
"He was a great person," he said "He would give the shirt off his back. ... I've never known him to do anything like that before."
Moreland had a criminal record in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties, mostly related to drug offenses. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in 2011.
County homicide detectives and the Baltimore department's Special Investigations Response Team — which investigates when officers fire their weapons — are probing the incident.
"No officer wants to kill anybody if they don't have to," said Anne Arundel County Police Lt. Ryan Frashure. He called the shooting "a very tragic event" and offered his condolences to the Moreland family.
Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith confirmed the officer's involvement, his tenure on the force and his role on the special investigations section, which handles a wide range of activities — from traffic accidents to aviation and SWAT duties.
The officer was not in uniform at the time of the shooting and was not injured, police said. He has been placed on routine administrative duties pending the investigation.
Patrick Michael Smith, a Glen Burnie attorney who has represented Moreland and members of his family for decades, said Moreland was "overcharged" in the 2011 assault case, and the guilty plea was the result of a deal to avoid another drug charge.
Smith said he never knew Moreland "to do crimes of violence like robberies" and "would've never expected anything like this."
"This is shocking," he said.
Smith said Moreland was a "nice person" who became fluent in sign language to communicate with his hearing-impaired mother.
He said Moreland was not working regularly when he last spoke to him a few years ago, but did "odd jobs" such as carpet cleaning.
Moreland's body was taken to the chief medical examiner's office in Baltimore for a full autopsy.
County police asked anyone with information to call county homicide detectives at 410-222-4731. Callers can also provide anonymous tips via the Anne Arundel County Police Tip Line, at 410-222-4700, or via Metro Crime Stoppers.