A man armed with a toy chrome-plated revolver died after being shot by police today following his attempt to rob a northeast Baltimore convenience store and then to escape in a nearby apartment building.
The gunman, who was not identified, was dead on arrival at the Francis Scott Key Medical Center, according to Fire Department spokesman Capt. Patrick Flynn.
The gunman was hit in the right shoulder and above the right eye by shotgun pellets fired by a police officer following a brief chase.
Lt. Robert Stanton of the city homicide unit confirmed that the man had died. He described the robber's weapon as a "non-firing, working mechanism replica" of a revolver.
According to accounts from police and an eyewitness, the gunman walked into the Dash-In, a 24-hour convenience store in the 6100 block of Moravia Park Road, about 6 a.m. and pointed the gun at the manager, who was preparing several pots of coffee for early-morning customers.
The gunman's attention was suddenly diverted to a clerk who came out of the store's men's room. He dropped the gun to his side and ordered the clerk to open the cash register.
Police said the gunman hit the clerk several times on the head with the gun in an attempt to get him to open the cash register. But the clerk could not hit the proper sequence of register keys to reach the money.
Meanwhile, the manager fled outside and passed the 34-year-old assistant manager, who was report ing for work.
"The guy [gunman] appeared kind of dumb," said the assistant manager. "He just dropped the gun to his side and let my manager go. When I saw the pistol I ran back outside and hid behind a big truck."
"It was getting to be the busy time of the morning," he said. "We were having groceries delivered, it could have been kind of nasty."
The manager flagged down a passing Northeastern District police paddy wagon. The driver was calling for backup units when he saw the gunman dart across Moravia Park Road and into an apartment building of the Notting Street Station.
With several officers now close behind him, the gunman ran to the second floor of a building and began kicking at the door of apartment 3C.
"Open up the door, this is the police!" the gunman shouted.
Several policemen, one floor below and believing the man to be armed with a functioning handgun, yelled up the stairs, "Don't open the door. We're the police down here!"
The woman resident, police said, became hysterical. She ran to the back of her apartment, went to the balcony and jumped to the ground about 20 feet below. She was taken to Francis Scott Key Medical Center.
The gunman wheeled in the hallway, police said. He shouted, "I'm not going back to jail." He allegedly pointed the revolver at the officers, including Officer Kenneth Lucas, and either clicked the hammer of the replica or pulled the trigger several times.
Lucas, who was unaware that the revolver was not real, leveled a 12-gauge shotgun at the man and fired.
The blast knocked the gunman down and he was arrested. Police said they found an empty vial near where the man fell but did not know what the vial had contained or whether it belonged to the suspect.
He was treated at the scene by paramedics.
Police said the gunman did not get any money in the attempted robbery.