Tactical officers raiding two West Baltimore apartments in a drug investigation shot and killed an unidentified man last night when he held onto a "bright shiny object" that they thought was a weapon and ordered him to drop, police reported.
It turned out to be a homemade "crack pipe," a miniature liquor bottle wrapped in aluminum foil, said police spokesman Dennis S. Hill.
According to Mr. Hill, the raids followed a monthlong investigation of cocaine trafficking in first- and second-floor apartments of a three-story building in the 2200 block of Linden Avenue -- with a local drug organization on the lower floor and a group from New York upstairs.
An informant who assisted Central District narcotics detectives had said the New York group was heavily armed, prompting the police to send a special Tactical Section Quick Response Team into the apartments as the raids began shortly before 6 p.m.
The three officers who barged into the dark second-floor apartment, which had no electricity, were using flashlights when they saw the man with the shiny object and told him to drop it. But the man walked toward them, and two officers -- James V. Kelly, 32, and Robert F. Kreczmer, 30 -- each fired two shots.
The man was hit twice.
The police found cocaine, cutting agents, narcotics equipment and money in the first-floor apartment, and were continuing their search on the second-floor late last night. At least seven people were detained for questioning.
Mr. Hill said the shooting was being investigated by homicide detectives, the state's attorney's office and the department's Internal Investigation Division.