Police today were investigating an incident in which a 26-year-old Glen Burnie man fatally shot himself after a 60-mile, high-speed chase through five counties during which he fired on police.
Michael Brenden Rhodes Jr., a truck driver for an air delivery business at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, shot himself in the head with a .22-caliber handgun when the chase ended behind the I-70 Truck Stop in Frederick County shortly after 12:30 p.m. yesterday, State Police said.
Rhodes, who lived in the first block of Forestdale Ave., was treated by paramedics at the scene then airlifted to the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore, where he died shortly after 3 p.m., police said.
From Rhodes' car, police recovered the handgun, an AR-15 assault rifle with scope, a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun, a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle, a stun gun and dozens of rounds of ammunition, said Chuck Jackson, a State Police spokesman.
Police also removed more than a dozen spent shells from the car, Jackson said.
The incident began shortly before noon yesterday in the Baltimore-Washington International Commerce Park at Dorsey and Old Telegraph roads when Anne Arundel County police tried to stop a blue and white 1977 Chevrolet Nova.
Police believed the driver of the car may have used a high-powered rifle to damage several trucks owned by an air cargo firm at the park.
When Officers Michael Calvert and Michael Schenning tried to approach the car, the driver drove off in a reckless manner, Anne Arundel police said, and the officers gave chase.
Near Md. 2 and Interstate 695 near Brooklyn, TFC Charles Lewis joined the chase and tried to stop the driver, Jackson said.
"While in the car . . . he took a shot at Lewis," Jackson said of the driver. "The bullet narrowly missed him and his cruiser. It was fairly close range."
He said additional troopers joined the chase west on I-695 into Baltimore County.
The fleeing suspect continued west to Interstate 70 through Howard and Carroll counties, where he fired a sawed-off shotgun at pursuing troopers, Jackson said.
"He fired the shotgun out of the driver's window and one blast from the rear window, prompting us to back off," Jackson said.
A police barricade was set up in the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 at the Monocacy River, but the suspect drove through the barricade, firing a weapon, and crossing briefly into the eastbound lanes, Jackson said. Troopers returned fire.
The suspect left the interstate and drove on a dirt path to Walser Drive, which is a service road to the I-70 Truck Stop, Jackson said. But a flat tire caused the suspect to stop.
"At that point, Rhodes got out of his car, held the .22-caliber to his head and fired one time . . ." Jackson said.
More than 30 patrol cars from State Police and local police agencies participated in the chase, Jackson said.
Frederick city police Officers Joseph Bourke and Shawn Tyler suffered minor leg injuries during the chase and were taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital for treatment, Jackson said.
Although police were concerned about the safety of motorists, there were no other injuries reported, Jackson said.
When reached by phone, a woman who identified herself as Rhodes' mother said, "I don't know anything. We just got back from Pennsylvania."