We’re learning more details about the warrior sheepdog who took out a deadly threat in Baltimore on Monday.
Police have now confirmed that a member of the Baltimore City Police Department was rushed to the hospital after sustaining at least one gunshot wound.
Authorities responded to the 2100 block of Maryland Ave, where original reports had three people injured by gunfire, including the officer.
The location of the shooting is a treatment clinic that specializes in substance abuse and mental health disorders. Witnesses say that a man inside the clinic pulled out a gun and opened fire after reportedly receiving his medicine.
The Baltimore City PD confirmed the officer involved shooting on Twitter Monday morning. They said that the suspect was also down.
Northern District: Officer involved shooting. 2100 block of Maryland Avenue. PIO responding to the scene.
— Baltimore Police (@BaltimorePolice) July 15, 2019
FOX45 reported that the veteran officer was shot below the vest. That officer was then rushed to Shock Trauma.
— Amber Miller (@AmberMillerWBFF) July 15, 2019
Here is what we now know.
The armed suspect, who was demanding methadone at the North Baltimore drug treatment facility, died after an exchange of gunfire Monday morning that left another man dead, a veteran police officer injured and patients fleeing for safety, city police said.
Baltimore police did not identify the gunman, who was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, nor the man who was found fatally shot in the Man Alive clinic. Police said a woman who worked at the clinic was also taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“This was a dangerous situation that could’ve been far worse for our officers, but they showed extreme courage, extreme bravery and professionalism,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a news conference outside the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Commissioner Harrison identified the injured officer as Sgt. Billy Shiflett, one of many officers responding to calls of an armed person at the clinic shortly after 7 a.m.
Harrison said the suspect had been allowed into the clinic before the shooting. Once on scene, civilians told officers that a man fired shots inside the building.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
Officers then entered and made multiple attempts to de-escalate the situation, but those attempts were to no avail. The gunman began firing. Officer Shiflett returned fire and was struck in the abdomen under his bullet-proof vest and was pulled from the building by a fellow officer, later identified as Christopher Miller.
He was taken to Shock Trauma where he immediately went into surgery. He was listed in serious but stable condition.
President Mancuso reports that Sgt. Billy Shiflett is out of surgery and is in stable condition. We thank everyone for their prayers and support at this difficult time. @BaltimorePolice
— Baltimore City FOP (@FOP3) July 15, 2019
George Dowler, who was waiting for his daily methadone treatment, said he heard a gunshot inside his counselor’s office, then saw another patient emerge from the office holding the employee at gunpoint. The gunman shouted at her and demanded to be let into an area behind the counter, where the medication is kept, Dowler said.
“’Open that [expletive] door or I’m going to shoot you,’” Dowler recalled the man saying. “She let him in, and then I screamed, ‘Let her [expletive] go!’” he continued. “He did let her go, and she comes running back toward me, and I said ‘Go to your office. Go to your office.’”
Per the report, Baltimore police continued to process the scene Monday afternoon. The incident is still under investigation. Officers recovered a firearm from the scene.
Two patients tell me he held a nurse at gunpoint and asked her to unlock a cabinet containing medication. #WJZ
— Kimberly Eiten (@KimberlyEiten) July 15, 2019
Lester Davis, a spokesman for Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, said the police commissioner was in close communication with Young about the shooting.
“His heart goes out to the officer, the officer’s family and the entire BPD,” Davis said. Davis called the shooting a “tragic situation,” and said the officers’ actions prevented “more loss of life.”
City Council President Brandon Scott said the shooting shows the continued need to quell gun violence in the city, which is on pace to reach 300 homicides for the fifth year in a row.
“This morning’s event highlighted the heroism of Sgt. Shiflett and his fellow officers, while again reminding us of the severe problem of gun violence in our city. It’s imperative that we deal with the flow of illegal guns into our city,” he said.
Harrison said he and members of the monitoring team for the U.S. Justice Department consent decree have reviewed the body-worn camera footage from the incident.
Neil Kavanaugh, another clinic patient, said he never expected anything like this to happen, considering the clinic has armed security.
“You come here to get your medication and that’s it,” he said. “It’s just crazy.”
Pippy Scott barricaded herself in a corner of the office and curling into the fetal position.
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) July 15, 2019
Scott said she heard the man banging on the door of an office, yelling for methadone. He then held a gun to the head of an employee. Scott’s counselor tried to calm the shooter.
“He was saying, ‘Come on, man. Let’s talk about it,’” Scott said about her counselor.
Kurt Schmoke, the president of University of Baltimore, called the incident “totally disheartening.”
As mayor in the 1990s, Schmoke championed methadone programs, often talking about “medicalizing” the drug problem and treating addiction as a public health issue.
“I have not heard of violent activity in those places in recent years, so my hope is that this is an exception and not the rule in terms of what happens around them,” he said. “Given the level of addiction in our community, we need those services to be provided.”
Regardless of the purpose of the clinics and lack of previous violence, we have two dead and another officer wounded in the line of duty to his community. We are grateful that he is expected to make a full recovery.