Police scour Baltimore for suspect in shooting of fellow officer

Baltimore police scoured the city this weekend for information about the shooting attack that that left an off-duty city officer in critical condition, an incident Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts described as a "cowardly act of violence."

"Whoever did this, we're going to track them down," Batts said at a news conference. Police identified 34-year old Gregg Thomas as a suspect in the shooting Friday evening in East Baltimore of Sgt. Keith Mcneill.

"We've been moving on this for the past 24 straight hours," Batts added. "We haven't backed off, we haven't slowed down, and we will not."

On Sunday about 11 a.m., police officers and SWAT teams started gathering near the 2900 block of Edmonson Aveune in West Baltimore, blocking off streets and advising residents to stay in their homes. An officer on the scene said they were in search of Thomas, but the search eventually came up empty. 

A flier distributed by the Police Department said Thomas should be considered "armed and dangerous." Officials later said on Twitter that there is a warrant for his arrest.

Police did not list charges associated with the warrant, and Batts did not go into detail about how authorities think Thomas is connected to the case. Anybody who sees him is asked to call police.

Neither a lawyer nor family members could be reached to comment.

Mcneill remained in critical condition Sunday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he underwent emergency surgery in the hours after the incident in the 1900 block of Belair Road, near the intersection with East North Avenue.

Over the course of the day, police said they carried out multiple raids in connection with the incident, and in a media release warned cameras to stay clear of SWAT officers.

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Batts said his department would hold accountable anybody who helped a person involved in the shooting. Authorities have not named any other persons of interest or suspects.

According to Batts, Mcneill was not working at the time of the shooting and had been "taking care of basic, domestic personal business."

"We don't know why he was targeted at this point, and we have to follow up," Batts said.

Robert Cherry, president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police, said he believed Mcneill, a 19-year veteran of the force, was assigned to an administrative position in the Eastern District. Batts said he had given the officer a promotion just last June, and said he has a wife and son.

Mcneill "has a long road to go at this point," Batts said. He said he was able to communicate with Mcneill, who acknowledged what he said by nodding.

Police have made available little detail about the shooting. In the hours after the incident, investigators could be seen working around a black SUV with its door open at the scene.

"What's unusual is not having a suspect right away," Cherry said. "Usually when an officer is shot they're returning fire."

At a news conference Friday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called the shooting another reminder that Baltimore "deserves better" than the level of violence in the city.

"The men and women of the Baltimore City Police Department are deeply saddened and in prayer for the officer's recovery," she said.




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