An off-duty Baltimore police officer exchanged gunshots with a holdup suspect moments after interrupting a robbery of two parking attendants at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.
Neither the off-duty officer, identified by Baltimore County police as William Furlong, 56, nor the suspect in the Saturday night robbery, who was still at large, was hit.
Police were also looking for a second suspect in the 9:45 p.m. holdup.
The suspects were described as black males, both about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds.
One wore a white sweater with tan pants.
Baltimore County police said the two men drove a green Chevrolet Beretta between the two parking toll booths on the hospital's entrance drive, off the 6700 block of N. Charles St. in Towson.
The driver got out, approached the booth on the left and sprayed Mace at the 28-year-old attendant, demanding money from him.
The passenger, meanwhile, went to the right-hand booth and pointed a gun at the 23-year-old female attendant, also demanding money.
That attendant dived below the cash register until her assailant threatened to kill her unless she stood up and cleaned out the register, police said.
The two attendants handed over a total of $115. Later, investigators said they found $35 and an empty Mace can in the woods.
As the two men were gathering the money, Officer Furlong, of the city's Northeastern District, and another off-duty city police officer drove up behind the Beretta. The two were leaving the hospital after visiting a patient, county police said.
Realizing that a robbery was taking place, Officer Furlong left his car and yelled for the men to stop. County police said the driver jumped into the Beretta and sped off toward Charles Street, leaving the gunman behind.
The deserted robber then fled into the woods just to the north of the entrance drive and was chased by Officer Furlong.
Officer Furlong told county police that he heard what he thought were two shots fired from the woods and that he returned fire once with his own pistol.
The city officer stopped his pursuit at that point as county police, summoned by the other off-duty city officer, arrived with K-9 units.
"The dogs picked up a scent from the suspect and followed through the woods and back onto Charles Street, where the trail ended," said Baltimore County Police Officer Kevin Klimko of the Towson District.
"We don't know if his accomplice circled back in the car and
picked him up or what, but there was no other trace of him at that point."